Football

Kobe Bryant believes bans for Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter are an 'important first step'

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Kobe Bryant believes the eight-year bans handed out to Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are a step in the right direction for the game of football.

The LA Lakers shooting guard, who grew up in Italy, playing football and supporting AC Milan, is still a big fan of the sport. 

And he thinks the actions of the presidents of FIFA and UEFA damaged the Shangri-La of the beautiful game.

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But Black Mamba, who will be playing in an NBA-record 16th Christmas Day game when the LA Lakers host city rivals the Clippers at Staples Center, believes the people in charge of revamping world football's governing body taking the game in the right direction.

"When something like this happens, it damages the emotional Shangri-La you get from sport."

"It's always a touchy thing. You are dealing with a big business. I think this is an important first step to cleaning up the sport.

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"With life being as brutal as it is, we come to sport as an escape. When something like this happens, it damages the emotional Shangri-La you get from sport."

"I'm sure they are on top of it and I'm sure they will get the sport back where we all want it to be."

Both men are planning on appealing their bans, believing they have been made an example of by the ethics committee. 

RETIREMENT TOUR

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 2008 MVP and two-time Olympic Gold medalist, will be playing his final Christmas game as he continues his 20th and final season in the league. 

It's been yet another frustrating season for the Lakers as they find themselves cut adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference at 4-23.

But despite the poor results, Kobe has enjoyed his retirement tour so far: "The way it’s been going it’s been so beautiful. I’m paying my respects to the fans and they’re doing the same in return.

"It’s a beautiful experience after 20 years playing, for me to say 'thank you' to them and them to say 'thank you' back, I couldn’t have imagined it being any better than it is."

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Premier League
Football

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