Sepp Blatter banned for 8 years


The FIFA president, along with UEFA president Michel Platini, have both been banned from soccer activities for eight years for ethics violations.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini have both received eight-year bans following an ethics investigation, according to Sporting News.

The ban, which was handed down by FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee on Monday, will prevent both Blatter and Platini from participating in any soccer-related activities for the next eight years. Both Blatter and Platini will also have to pay large fines of $40,000 and $80,00, respectively.

Both officials were suspended in October and subsequently investigated in relation to a $2 million payment made from FIFA (authorized by Blatter) to Platini in February 2011, which Blatter claimed was for work done by Platini between 1999 and 2002. The Ethics Committee found no legal basis for the payment and suspended the pair, although both were cleared of bribery and corruption allegations.

As he has done several times in the past few months, Blatter took to the defensive and denied any wrongdoing in the case, citing an oral “gentleman’s agreement” for the $2 million payment. Blatter will appeal the decision, although this certainly appears to be his last action in football. Previously, Blatter lost his appeal for the 90-day suspension he received when the investigation was initially opened.

Platini was expected to take over for Blatter, who has held the post since 1998, as the next FIFA president prior to the corruption scandal and investigation. Blatter previously said he would stand down before FIFA’s election in February, although that appears to be a moot point with the suspension.

Blatter won his fifth consecutive term in May by default after opponent Prince Ali bin Hussein withdrew prior to the second round of voting. The 79-year-old said a few days later that he would resign following a U.S. federal investigation for corruption, but later contradicted his statement.

These are far from the only allegations Blatter has faced over the past couple of years. Numerous bribery and misuse of funds charges have come against FIFA since 2013, and seven officials were arrested in May. FIFA and Blatter have also faced scrutiny regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and continue to stand by the decision to play in Qatar eight years from now despite apparent human rights violations by the host country.

World Football still has a long way to go before the corruption case is cleaned up, but suspending Blatter and Platini is a big step. Fortunately, it appears we’ve seen Blatter’s last act as FIFA President.