Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have lost their appeals against their eight-year bans from football - but the FIFA appeals committee have reduced their suspensions by two years each.
FIFA have confirmed that Blatter and Platini will now only be banned for six years each, explaining their services to world football’s governing body, UEFA and football in general over the years “should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor”.
Blatter, the former FIFA president, and Platini, the ex-UEFA president, were banned with immediate effect in December following corruption charges related to a £1.35 million payment made the latter in 2011.
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A FIFA judge concluded at the time that “Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity” while “his actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude.”
Reacting to today’s verdict, Platini has revealed that he will now be taking his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
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Next stop for Blatter and Platini: CAS
"I'm deeply disappointed by the FIFA appeal chamber,” the former France international was quoted as saying by the Telegraph’s Ben Rumsby, “and the next step is going further to CAS in Lausanne."
The statement on FIFA’s website read: The statement said: "The FIFA Appeal Committee, chaired by Larry Mussenden (Bermuda), has partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee on 17 and 18 December 2015 regarding Joseph S. Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, whose bans have been reduced from eight to six years.
"Following the hearings of Mr Platini and Mr Blatter held in Zurich on 15 and 16 February 2016 respectively, the Appeal Committee has decided as follows: Mr Platini's and Mr Blatter's appeals are dismissed in respect of infringements of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 19 (Conflict of interests) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as established by the adjudicatory chamber. The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption)."
It added: "Michel Platini is banned from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level for a period of six (6) years as from 8 October 2015, in accordance with art. 6 par. 1h) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in conjunction with art. 22 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.”
Were FIFA right to reduce the bans of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini? Have your say by leaving a comment below.