FIFA’s Ethics Committee has provisionally suspended Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Jerome Valcke for 90 days, with South Korean official Chung Mong-joon banned for six years.
Reports first emerged on Wednesday that the Ethics Committee had recommended outgoing FIFA president Blatter be banned, after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against him last month.
His suspension, along with that of UEFA chief Platini and FIFA general secretary Valcke, has now been made official, following approval by the world governing body’s adjudicatory chamber.
Those sanctions can be extended by up to 45 days, which would effectively end Blatter’s reign over world football – with the FIFA congress to replace him scheduled for February 26 next year.
Chung, meanwhile, has been banned from all football activity for six years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs after he was found guilty of a number of infringements during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The investigation into Blatter’s conduct relates to allegations that he signed an “unfavourable” contract with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in 2005 that market experts claim handed over World Cup television rights for a fraction of their market value.
He is also accused of making a “disloyal payment” in 2011 to Platini, whose bid to replace Blatter as FIFA president appears all but over.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing, with Platini earlier on Thursday releasing a strongly worded statement lambasting a “deliberate leak – which is insidious in nature and… is essentially an attempt to damage my reputation” shortly before news of the sanctions was announced by FIFA.
Valcke – Blatter’s right-hand man since 2007 – was last month placed on leave amid allegations linking him to a scheme that intended to sell hospitality tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil at above their face value. Valcke denies those allegations.
In making the bans public, FIFA said: “The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Hans‑Joachim Eckert has provisionally banned FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini, and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke (who has already been put on leave by his employer FIFA) for a duration of 90 days.
“The duration of the bans may be extended for an additional period not exceeding 45 days. The former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon has been banned for six years and fined CHF 100,000. During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.
“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The chairman of the chamber is Dr Cornel Borbely. The investigation into Joseph S. Blatter is being carried out by Robert Torres, the investigation into Michel Platini by Vanessa Allard.
“The proceedings against the South Korean football official Chung Mong-joon were opened in January 2015 based on findings in the report on the investigation into the bidding process for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups. He has been found guilty of infringing article 13 (General rules of conduct), article 16 (Confidentiality), article 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), article 41 (Obligation of the parties to collaborate) and article 42 (General obligation to collaborate) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“The Ethics Committee is unable to comment on the details of the decisions until they become final, due to the provisions of article 36 (Confidentiality) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”