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Bernstein wary of FIFA process in Blatter, Platini bans

Former Football Association chairman David Bernstein is not entirely satisfied by the manner in which FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have received eight-year football bans, describing the disciplinary process as similar to a “kangaroo court”.

Blatter and Platini have announced their intention to contest the ruling handed down by FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee on Monday, which came in the wake of a payment of two million Swiss francs by world football’s governing body to Platini in February 2011, authorised by the Swiss.

Both men protested their innocence and claimed the payment was settled under a “gentlemen’s agreement”, but that explanation did not satisfy the Ethics Committee, which found Blatter and Platini to have breached a number of articles contained within the FIFA Code of Ethics.

Bernstein, a long-time critic of Blatter, is keen to differentiate between the pair, despite their receipt of identical bans, and feels Platini’s downfall has been to conduct himself in an “amateurish” and “naive” manner.

Asked whether the verdicts pleased him, the former Manchester City chairman told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Not totally. There’s a bit of a kangaroo court feel about some of this. Perhaps [that is] more relevant for Platini than Blatter because there’s a distinction between the two.

“Blatter has presided over a corrupt organisation for many, many years. The Swiss authorities and US authorities are after him. He’ll get what he deserves.

“Platini is very different. He’s presided over a very straight organisation. UEFA is not mired by corruption.

“Platini has got wrapped up with Blatter, he’s got too close to him. What an amateurish way this payment has been handled. It makes you feel Platini has been naive.”

Blatter offered a sprawling response to news of his ban at a press conference in Zurich soon after the ruling was made public.

Bernstein felt he was watching a familiar bullish front from the 79-year-old, whose race in football he believes is run.

“He knows all the tricks doesn’t he,” Bernstein added.

“He’s a real performer and a real fighter, but at the end of the day he’s either one of the world’s greatest cynics or he’s in some sort of denial. Perhaps a bit of both.

“As always a master of confusion…he throws so many things into it, some of them may be partly valid, I don’t know, but it’s quite a performance.

“He’s a drowning man really, there’s no coming back from this. He will fight, but he is doomed. He is yesterday’s man.”

Mon 21 Dec, 2015
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