FIFA ethics court asks for Blatter, Platini sanctions

FIFA is facing pressure to overhaul its governance and improve transparency following the May indictment by U.S. authorities of 14 football officials

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FIFA’s ethics committee says it asked for sanctions against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini after finishing investigations into alleged financial wrongdoing.

FIFA President Blatter and UEFA President Platini now face bans of several years at full hearings before FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert, likely in December.

The ethics court investigation chamber will not reveal what sanctions it requested due to “privacy rights and the presumption of innocence.”

The case centers on a $2 million payment of FIFA money Blatter approved for Platini in 2011 as backdated salary.

Both men deny wrongdoing, though they acknowledge there was no written contract.

Blatter and Platini are currently suspended by the ethics committee pending the full verdicts.

Both are challenging their interim 90-day bans at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA’s reform committee avoided giving details on its final proposals for cleaning up football’s scandal-plagued governing body after winding up its third and final meeting on Friday.

In a terse 79-word statement, FIFA said only that committee chairman Francois Carrard would put its recommendations to an executive committee meeting on Dec. 2-3, and that they would be publicly presented afterwards.

There was no news conference after Friday’s meeting at FIFA’s headquarters in a plush Zurich hilltop suburb.

FIFA is facing unprecedented pressure to overhaul its governance and improve transparency following the May indictment by U.S. authorities of 14 football officials and sports marketing executives on corruption-related charges.

The crisis escalated further in October when both FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, who had been favorite to succeed him, were banned for 90 days by FIFA’s ethics committee pending a full investigation.

Many of those indicted by U.S. authorities had served on FIFA’s executive committee or other FIFA panels.

Swiss public prosecutors are also investigating alleged irregularities in decisions to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, both taken at a vote in Zurich in December 2010.

Domenico Scala, who heads FIFA’s audit and compliance and committee, has produced an extensive package of proposed reforms that he has made public and given to FIFA’s executive committee.

They include 12-year term limits for elected FIFA officials from the president down, full disclosure of the financial compensation of the president, general secretary and executive committee members, and more detailed integrity checks on members of committees.

The reform committee published a five-page summary of its “preliminary recommendations” on Oct. 20 which suggested an age limit of 74 for all leading officials, but only mentioned term-limits for the president who would be restricted to three mandates.

The reform committee has not provided any further details of its work since then.

Carrard told Reuters in New York earlier this month that term limits may not be the best course of action for executive committee members.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a leading member of the reform committee, said that up to 40 percent of Scala’s proposals could be rejected.

“I think age-limit will achieve the same goals – you will have three or four terms maximum, unless you are young,” he told Reuters in an interview on Nov 2.

[Reuters and The Associated Press]

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