World football governing body FIFA which is currently led in the interim by CAF President Issa Hayatou has rejected appeals by its president Sepp Blatter and Uefa president Michel Platini against their provisional bans from all football related activity.
The decision is a further blow to Platini’s faint hopes of re-joining the race to succeed Blatter. He has submitted his candidacy but Fifa’s ad-hoc electoral committee will not rule on his eligibility until he returns from his 90-day ban.
The Fifa ethics committee is on track to make a decision on the facts of the case before Christmas in any case, with both men facing the possibility of bans of up to seven years.
The pair had appealed in the wake of the decision by Fifa’s ethics committee in September to ban them both for 90 days , with a possible 45 day extension, while investigations into an alleged “disloyal payment” continued.
Blatter was accused by the Swiss attorney general of making a £1.35m payment to Platini weeks before he was re-elected as Fifa president in 2011. Platini has argued that the payment was for work carried out when he worked for Blatter as a special adviser between 1998 and 2002 but that Blatter told him at the time that Fifa could not afford to pay and he did not want to upset its wage structure.
It soon emerged that there was no written contract for the payment, with both sides arguing it was a “gentleman’s agreement”.
The Fifa appeals committee, chaired by the Bermudan Larry Mussenden, said the appeals had been rejected “in full” and the decision of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee, chaired by the German judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, confirmed in its entirety.
However, it pointed out that the ethics committee could still itself “confirm, revoke or amend the provisional decision” if it decided to.
When the ethics committee hands down its full judgment it could definitively bring down the curtain on Blatter’s tenure atop world football and end Platini’s already slim chances of succeeding him.
When Platini was suspended, Uefa resolved to enter its general secretary Gianni Infantino as a presidential candidate on the understanding he would drop out if the Frenchman was re-admitted.
Infantino is one of five confirmed candidates for February’s election. The others are the Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman, Jordanian FA president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, former Fifa executive Jérôme Champagne and the South African Tokyo Sexwale.