Paris, Dec 12 (IANS) UEFA chief Michel Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter will “be suspended for several years”, the football governing body’s Ethics Committee spokesman Andreas Bantel has said. The duo is currently serving 90-day bans from football-related activities while an investigation is carried out into an alleged 1.3 million pounds payment made to the Frenchman by world football’s governing body.
“Platini will certainly be suspended for several years,” Bantel was quoted as saying by French website L’Equipe on Friday. Blatter is due to standing down as FIFA president with an election to choose his successor on set for February 26. “As for Blatter, there is no difference for him between a suspension of a few years and a life ban,” Bantel said. But Platini’s lawyers have hit back at Bantel’s comments, accusing FIFA’s Ethics Committee of subjecting the Frenchman to a “sham procedure”, adding the remarks “constituted a patent violation of the presumption of innocence”.
“We have learned with anger and dismay the comments of Andreas Bantel,” Platini’s lawyers said in a statement on Friday. “He….has breached the presumption of innocence and demonstrates the political objectives being pursued by FIFA’s Ethics Committee. They demonstrate also that the Ethics Committee is pursuing a political objective for whom contradictory arguments and the hearing that it fixed itself for 18 December will manifestly serve no purpose,” the statement added. But Bantel insisted in his interview that “in this case, the question of corruption is well-founded”.
“Suppose even the charge of corruption is not accepted by the chamber, there are many others offences such as a conflict of interest, mismanagement or falsification of accounts. All of this is sufficient to suspend Blatter and Platini for several years,” the official said.