Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will continue fight to clear their names

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Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will battle on to clear their names as the FIFA presidential election continues in their enforced absence this week - and without the use of transparent voting booths.

Former FIFA president Blatter and UEFA chief Platini last week had their appeal hearings after being punished in December over a 2million Swiss francs (£1.3million) "disloyal payment" made to the Frenchman, approved by Blatter.

The pair's suspensions have been reduced from eight to six years in recognition of services to the game, but both deny wrongdoing and neither is satisfied after Wednesday's publication of the appeal verdict.

Blatter intends to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Platini will too after hitting out at an "insulting" and "shameful" decision, which he says is designed to prevent him vhallenging for the FIFA presidency.

A FIFA statement read: "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.

"The appeal committee considered that Mr Platini's and Mr Blatter's activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor."

The six-year bans are backdated to October 8, 2015 and expire in October 2021. Blatter is aged 79 and the confirmation of the suspension effectively ends his hopes of returning to football, unless CAS rules in his favour.

Platini would be eligible to return in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup he championed.

Blatter must also pay a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs (£36,000), while Platini has been ordered to pay 80,000 Swiss francs (£58,000). Both sums are due within 30 days.

The appeal verdicts arrived two days before 207 of FIFA's member associations - Kuwait and Indonesia are suspended - vote in a first new president of football's world governing body since Blatter's appointment in 1998. Platini had hoped to be in contention for the post.

Five candidates are running on Friday: Jordan's Prince Ali bin al Hussein, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA deputy secretary general from France.

FIFA is this week also expected to approve wide-scale reforms to ensure openness and guard against the corruption which has engulfed it in recent times.

The reforms will be voted on ahead of the presidential election, which will proceed as scheduled after Prince Ali lost his bid to have transparent voting booths used to, he said, ensure a free and fair election.

Voters reportedly documented how they had voted in last May's presidential election, which Blatter won ahead of Prince Ali before resigning days later, prompting this week's extraordinary congress.

FIFA had dismissed Prince Ali's plea to use the transparent polling booths and the Jordanian took the case to CAS in an expedited process. The postponement of the election was a possible outcome, but Prince Ali's request was dismissed.

"I have done all I can. I regret that the system let us down," Prince Ali said in a statement.

The Football Association is backing Infantino in the election, having supported Prince Ali against Blatter last May.

"First of all I appreciate their honesty," said the 40-year-old Jordanian, who wished he had had the chance to address the FA hierarchy.

"In any case, I can understand where they're coming from, according to what I read, that it was to follow European positions.

"(But) I didn't have a chance to talk to the FA board as a group. I think that should be the norm all over the world."

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