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What They Said: Blatter, Platini respond to FIFA bans

In a day of key developments in the FIFA corruption scandal, world football’s governing body banned its president Sepp Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke, as well UEFA president Michel Platini and honorary vice-president Chung Mong-joon, both of whom were self-proclaimed candidates to succeed the Swiss at the head of the organisation.

As the longest serving vice-president on FIFA’s executive committee, the head of the Confederation of African Football Issa Hayatou has taken over. 

Chung received a six-year suspension from football activities, while Blatter, Valcke and Platini have all been banned for 90 days.

With accusation and counter accusation flying, catch up on the key developments in what is undoubtedly the biggest scandal in football history:

Official statement regarding FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee decisions

Today, in accordance with FIFA’s Code of Ethics, Joseph S. Blatter was relieved of all his duties as FIFA President following the decision of the Independent Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee to provisionally ban him from all football activities on a national and international level. 

Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.

As mandated by article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes, Issa Hayatou, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee, will serve as Acting President of FIFA.

It was also announced that the Independent Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee issued a provisional 90-day ban for FIFA’s Secretary General, Jerome Valcke. 

This decision follows FIFA’s announcement on 17 September 2015, that the organization had put Jerome Valcke on leave and released him from his duties effective immediately.  On that date, FIFA requested a formal investigation by the Ethics Committee. 

All operational business matters will continue to be overseen by Markus Kattner, Acting Secretary General.

Independent Ethics Committee bans several football officials (FIFA’s press release)

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.

Statement from Sepp Blatter’s lawyer 

“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. 

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.”

Official statement from Michel Platini

It was reported last night that the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee intends to recommend to its adjudicatory chamber that I be given a 90-day suspension.

This is clearly an extremely serious matter – all the more so given that this information appears to have come from an official FIFA source, despite the fact that the Ethics Committee, which is supposed to act with full independence, has not yet issued its decision.

This deliberate leak – which is insidious in nature and has come about in an unacceptable manner – is essentially an attempt to damage my reputation.

Over the last few weeks, I have stressed my willingness to cooperate fully with the authorities carrying out the various enquiries in compliance with the strictest procedural rules. FIFA, on the other hand, has clearly flouted those rules.

I have always acted and expressed myself with honesty, courage and candour, as I feel that this is my moral duty. If what is being reported regarding the intentions of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee is indeed true, I will stop at nothing to ensure that the truth is known. Nobody should be in any doubt as to my determination to achieve that objective.

In the meantime, a dispassionate, independent and impartial judicial body needs to shine a light on the events that led the FIFA Ethics Committee to open these investigatory proceedings.

This morning I submitted the letters of support that are required in order to stand as a candidate for the presidency of FIFA. As I have always done since 2007, I will fulfil my obligations after consulting UEFA’s 54 member associations, which I will ask to convene shortly in Nyon. I will also meet with all the other confederations and FIFA’s member associations in the spirit of openness that has always characterised my actions.

I am certain that we will overcome this difficulty with full transparency and the unity that gives football its strength.

Statement by Issa Hayatou, Acting FIFA President

Today, amid extraordinary circumstances, I have assumed the office of FIFA President pursuant to Article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes. I will serve only on an interim basis. A new President will be chosen by the Extraordinary Congress on 26 February 2016. I myself will not be a candidate for that position.

Until the Extraordinary Congress, I pledge that I will dedicate my best efforts to the organization, the member associations, our employees, our valued partners, and football fans everywhere.  FIFA remains committed to the reform process, which is critical to reclaiming public trust.  We will also continue to cooperate fully with authorities and follow the internal investigation wherever it leads.

Football has never enjoyed greater support throughout the world, and that is something everyone associated with FIFA should be proud of.

Thu 8 Oct, 2015
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