Disgraced Blatter prepares to appeal eight-year suspension

Banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter's appeal against his eight-year suspension from all football-related activity will be heard tonight.

Sepp Blatter Press Conference

Source: Getty Images

Blatter, 79, was banned in December after he was found guilty of a $2.6 million "disloyal payment" to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011.

Frenchman Platini, who was also served with an eight-year ban for his role in the payment, made his case against his ban at a FIFA appeal hearing in Zurich yesterday.

''I am not fighting for my future, I am fighting against injustice," Platini said.

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In remarks reported by L'Equipe, he added: ''If I had anything to reproach myself for, I would be hiding in Siberia in shame.

''I will look people in the eyes, I have done nothing and I fear nothing. I am 60 years old and I never had a red card on the pitch.''

If Platini fails to have his sanction overturned, it is likely he would take his fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with Blatter poised to do the same.

Platini continued: ''Is it Blatter who put me in this situation? Not at all, he is in the same situation as me. Someone pushed the button and I will try to find out who.''

UEFA stated last month that it will not hold an election for its presidency until Platini's appeals process has been exhausted.

The FIFA appeals committee, which is chaired by Larry Mussenden, the president of the Bermuda Football Association, has the power to reduce, increase or overturn the ban imposed in December.

Meanwhile, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has cast doubt over the candidacy of the favourite to succeed Blatter as FIFA president, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

Dyke believes Sheikh Salman must first come clean about his role in human rights violations which followed the pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain in 2011.

Sheikh Salman, who is widely expected to replace Blatter at the election later this month, has repeatedly avoided questioning over the issue, and was one of the first candidates to withdraw from a proposed 'New FIFA Now' forum in Brussels last month.

He has, however, insisted he has no '''skeletons in the closet''.

Speaking on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire program, Dyke said: ''I think there is an issue about Bahrain.

''No one denies that there were violations of human rights involving sportsmen and footballers that went on four years ago - no one denies that. The denial is over whether or not he was involved.

''The question is, does it matter whether or not he was involved, or is it the fact, can you have someone from Bahrain running world football, in charge of world football, given what happened there four years ago? I personally have my doubts.''


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Published 16 February 2016 at 3:30pm
Source: PA Sport