Sepp Blatter insists he was not surprised his eight-year ban from all football-related activity was not reduced further by FIFA and believes it is all part of a “conspiracy” to deny Michel Platini a shot at the presidency.
Former FIFA president Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Platini were suspended in December when the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee ruled a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.3million) authorised by the 79-year-old Swiss to the former France captain constituted multiple infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).
After taking their cases to the FIFA Appeal Committee, the duo had their original sanctions of eight-year bans reduced to six after their long service to the game was taken into account.
On the eve of Friday’s election to find Blatter’s successor at the head of the world game’s governing body, the Swiss told RTL: “I still sleep well because I did not expect any better of this committee, because I saw that there was some sort of conspiracy at FIFA.
“First against Michel Platini, so he cannot become FIFA president, and then against me.
“I think it’s sad. It’s not very fair, but it certainly exists to prevent Mr Platini becoming president of FIFA.”
Wednesday’s Appeal Committee statement read: “While agreeing with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber in its calculation of the sanction, the Appeal Committee determined that some strong mitigating factors for Mr Platini and Mr Blatter were not taken into account when establishing the sanction.
“In this sense, amongst others, the Appeal Committee considered that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor.”
Blatter and Platini have each received a one-year reduction on their five-year punishment for breaching FCE article 20 – offering and accepting gifts and other benefits – while their three-year bans for other infringements was cut to two.
Respective fines of 50,000 and 80,000 Swiss Francs for Blatter and Platini remain.