FIFA president Sepp Blatter has responded to his provisional suspension from world football’s governing body, claiming that the Ethics Committee “did not follow the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code”.
Blatter, along with UEFA president Michel Platini and FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, was suspended for 90 days on Thursday, following approval by FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber of a recommendation made by the ethics committee.
The Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against the 79-year-old last month into allegations that he signed an “unfavourable” television rights contract with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in 2005 and made a “disloyal” payment to Platini in 2011.
The sanctions against Blatter can be extended by up to 45 days, a move that would effectively end his 17-year reign, given the FIFA congress where a long-term replacement will be chosen is scheduled for February 26 next year.
The 79-year-old has denied any wrongdoing and a statement released by his lawyers questioned the conduct of the Ethics Committee.
“President Blatter was disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not follow the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code, both of which provide for an opportunity to be heard,” the statement read.
“Further, the Ethics Committee based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the Attorney General in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the President.
“In fact, the prosecutors will be obliged by law to dismiss the case if their investigation, barely two weeks old, does not establish sufficient evidence.
“President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise.”
However, contrary to the statement from Blatter’s lawyers, the FIFA Code of Ethics does not oblige the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber to offer a personal hearing before issuing a suspension.
In relation to “procedure” the code reads: “The chairman of the adjudicatory chamber may summon the parties to a hearing at short notice or set them a short time limit in which to submit written statements.
“The chairman of the adjudicatory chamber may make his decision on the basis of the case files available to him, without hearing the parties, in which case the parties shall be summoned to a hearing or invited to submit written statements after the decision has been issued.
“After hearing the parties, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber shall confirm, revoke or amend his decision.”