Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he “will accept” the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as his attempt to clear his name against corruption charges enters its final stages.
The Swiss arrived at CAS headquarters in Lausanne early on Thursday ahead of a one-day sitting to fight the six-year ban handed down by world football’s governing body
Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were suspended from all football-related activity by FIFA last December when the adjudicatory chamber of its Ethics Committee ruled a payment of two million Swiss francs, authorised by the Swiss to the former France captain, constituted multiple infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The FIFA Appeal Committee upheld the Ethics Committee’s findings, although it reduced the initial eight-year suspensions to six in light of “strong mitigating factors” – namely Blatter and Platini’s long history of service in football administration.
CAS heard Platini’s appeal in May, when the body further reduced the Frenchman’s ban to four years and changed his fine from CHF 80,000 to CHF 60,000, but maintained he was right to be punished, taking into account “the absence of any repentance” and the impact on FIFA’s reputation.
Whatever the outcome of his own hearing, Blatter insists he will not take the matter further.
He told reporters: “I will accept the verdict.
“I do hope it will be positive for me, but we are footballers. We learn to win but also we learn to lose.”
Blatter was succeeded by former UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino as FIFA president in February, following a tenure spanning more than 17 years.