Sepp Blatter has confirmed his intention to appeal against his eight-year FIFA ban from all football-related activity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Blatter, who had already announced that he would step down as FIFA president ahead of February’s elections, and UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were both banned for eight years by FIFA’s Ethics Committee on Monday.
But the 79-year-old Swiss later announced in a media conference that he is to appeal to CAS, while also questioning the validity of the judgement under Swiss law.
Blatter said: “With my lawyer, he is putting into question all of what is right and what is wrong. I will use sporting justice now to go forward. We will go immediately once again to the appeal committee to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, we will also go to the Swiss [courts].
“Under Swiss law to be suspended for eight years you have to have committed something very, very important.”
The bans relate to a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.3million) made by FIFA, and authorised by Blatter, to Platini in February 2011. Blatter and FIFA vice-president Platini claimed this related to work carried out by the former France captain for FIFA between 1999 and 2002, citing a “gentleman’s agreement”.
But the Ethics Committee ruled that there was “no legal basis” for the payment in a written agreement signed by both men on August 25, 1999 and added that the assertion of an oral agreement was “not convincing and rejected by the chamber”.
Blatter railed continually against this notion throughout an at-times erratic briefing, where he regularly expressed frustration at being informed of his ban after the news had broken in the media.
The outgoing FIFA president said the organisation’s regulations allowed for gentleman’s agreements and pointed to the fact that his and Platini’s versions of events align despite claiming not to have been in touch with his former colleague during the investigation process.
“Mr Platini and myself were asked separately about this since the first day when this happened. It was in a meeting here in July in Zurich,” Blatter added. “We were separated, we couldn’t speak together and we have given the same answer.
“The only thing they should have done is to say: ‘Yes if this arrangement existed, you should have put it somewhere in the books.’
“I agree to that. But this is administrative and financial proceedings. It is nothing to do with ethics.
“These allegations I have given a gift to Platini because of this arrangement and contract. It says in the FIFA books that you can have an oral contract.
“I am suspended eight years but I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. I am suspended eight years for what?”
Outlining his version of events surrounding the deal with Platini, Blatter said the Ethics Committee had ignored a “direct and indirect” acknowledgement of the arrangement by UEFA’s executive committee in 1998.
He continued: “We are in a so-called oral contract or a gentleman’s agreement and this gentleman’s agreement was made in 1998 after the World Cup in France.
“Mr Platini approached me and said he would like to work for FIFA. I said it would be wonderful if he would work for FIFA.
“He said: ‘I’m a very expensive man.’ I said: ‘That’s okay but we cannot pay you now, we would pay you later.’
“What astounds me now is this decision by the adjudicatory chamber – they deny the existence of such an agreement.
“This agreement was both directly and indirectly confirmed by two meetings of the UEFA executive committee – one in Sweden and the other here in Zurich in December 1998.”
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