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Blatter arrives for FIFA appeal hearing

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has arrived at world football’s headquarters in Zurich for an appeal hearing relating to his eight-year ban from football activity.

Blatter and suspended UEFA president Michel Platini were given the bans by FIFA’s Ethics Committee in December in relation to a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.3million) from FIFA – authorised by Blatter – to the Frenchman in February 2011.

The pair were found to have breached the FIFA Code of Ethics in relation to offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, conflicts of interests, loyalty and general rules of conduct.

Both men deny wrongdoing, with Platini saying prior to his appeal hearing on Monday: “I’ve done nothing and I’m not afraid of anything.”

The former France international hopes to regain the UEFA presidency in time for Euro 2016, which will be held in the country over June and July.

The two men claim the payment in question relates to work carried out by Platini for FIFA between 1999 and 2002, which both he and Blatter allege was based on a “gentleman’s agreement”.

However, the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee found “no legal basis” in the agreement between the two officials.

While Blatter and Platini were deemed to have breached certain FCE articles, the investigation into them failed to prove guilt of either bribery or corruption.

A new FIFA president is due to be elected on February 26 in Zurich – Blatter having withdrawn from the running amid the corruption scandal that rocked FIFA last year.

UEFA will not hold elections for its presidency until Platini’s appeal process has come to a close.

Tue 16 Feb, 2016
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