Blatter, Platini Banned From Soccer For 8 Years

The FIFA Ethics Committee chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert.

The FIFA Ethics Committee was chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert.

(ZURICH, SWITZERLAND) – The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert, has banned Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, for eight years, and Michel Platini, the vice-president and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and president of UEFA, for eight years, from all football-related activities, administrative, sports, or any other, on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.

The proceedings against Blatter primarily related to a payment of CHF (Swiss Francs) 2,000,000 transferred in February 2011 from FIFA to Platini.

Blatter, in his position as president, authorised the payment to Platini, which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment.

His assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.

The evidence available to the adjudicatory chamber in the present case was not sufficient to establish, to the extent required, that Blatter sought the execution or omission of an official act from Platini within the meaning of article 21 paragraph 1 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE), Bribery and Corruption.

However, the conduct of Blatter towards Platini, without a legal basis, constituted a breach of article 20m paragraph 1m of the FCE, Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits.

Furthermore, Blatter found himself in a situation of conflict of interest, despite which he continued to perform his related duties, failing to disclose said situation and the existence of personal interests linked to his prospective activities, thus violating article 19, paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of the FCE, Conflicts of interest. By failing to place FIFA’s interests first, and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Blatter violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA and breached article 15 of the FCE, Loyalty.

Blatter’s actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations, as well as FIFA’s regulatory framework, to the extent applicable to him, and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as president of FIFA, hence violating article 13 of the FCE, General rules of conduct.

In consequence, Blatter has been banned for eight years from all football related activities and fined CHF 50,000.

The investigation resulted in a final report which was submitted to the adjudicatory chamber on 20 November 2015. The adjudicatory chamber opened formal proceedings on 23 November, and the hearing of Blatter took place in Zurich on 17 December.

The proceedings against Platini primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 that he received in February 2011 from FIFA. The payment had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Platini’s assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.

The evidence available to the adjudicatory chamber in the present case was not sufficient to establish, to the extent required, that Platini obtained the payment for the execution or omission of an official act within the meaning of article 21, paragraph 1 of the FCE. Nevertheless, the conduct of Platini without a legal basis constituted a breach of article 20, paragraph 1 of the FCE.

Furthermore, Platini found himself in a situation of conflict of interest, despite which he continued to perform his related duties, failing to disclose said situation and the existence of personal interests linked to his prospective activities in violation of article 19, paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of the FCE.

By failing to place FIFA’s interests first, and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Platini also violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA and breached article 15 of the FCE.

In addition, Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities. His actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations, as well as FIFA’s regulatory framework, to the extent applicable to him, and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as vice-president of FIFA and member of the FIFA Executive Committee, hence violating article 13 of the FCE.

In consequence, Platini has been banned for eight years from all football related activities and fined CHF 80,000.

The investigation resulted in a final report which was submitted to the adjudicatory chamber on 20 November 2015. The adjudicatory chamber opened formal proceedings on 23 November, and the hearing took place in Zurich on 18 December in the presence of Platini’s lawyers.

In a release, UEFA responded to Platini’s banning.

UEFA has taken note of the decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee to suspend Michel Platini for eight years from all football-related activities.

Naturally UEFA is extremely disappointed with this decision, which nevertheless is subject to appeal.

Once again, UEFA supports Michel Platini’s right to a due process and the opportunity to clear his name.

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Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata
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