FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have both been banned from all football-related activity for eight years with immediate effect, the Independent Ethics Committee of world football’s governing body has confirmed.
Both men were provisionally suspended in October in relation 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”.
However, in its ruling published on Monday, the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee said that the payment had “no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999”, and that “neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment”.
Furthermore, assertions from both Blatter and Platini of an oral agreement were “determined as not convincing and rejected by the chamber”.
The 79-year-old Swiss, who had already announced his intention to stand down before February’s FIFA presidential elections, has been fined 50,000 Swiss francs, with Platini fined 80,000 Swiss francs.
The investigation into both men, who each denied any wrongdoing, was unable to prove “to the extent required” that either was guilty of bribery and corruption under the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).
But Blatter and Platini were found to be in breach of FCE articles relating to offering and accepting gifts and other benefits; conflicts of interests; loyalty; and general rules of conduct.
Blatter has been FIFA president since 1998, while the 60-year-old Platini – UEFA chief since 2007 – had been widely tipped to succeed his old ally in the top job before the scandal broke.