Sepp Blatter, former FIFA president, and Michel Platini, the president of the Union of European Football Associations from 2007 until 2015, who were originally banned from soccer for eight years after being found guilty of a conflict of interest in a two million Swiss franc deal, had their sentences reduced to six years by the FIFA Appeal Committee.
In December, the FIFA committee had said Blatter and Platini had demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions. Blatter had responded to the initial sentence by asserting he was being used as a “punching ball,” adding, “I will fight to the end.”
Following the hearings with the two men held in mid-February, Larry Mussenden, the chairman of the committee, agreed with the ruling of the independent Ethics Committee released in December 2015 that not only should a call for a lifetime be rejected, but the sentences should be reduced.
The Appeal Committee stated: “The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption). Consequently, the appeal lodged by the investigatory chamber for a life ban from all football-related activity was also dismissed.”
The Appeals Committee reasoned, “In this sense, amongst others, the Appeal Committee considered that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor. Thus, after carefully analysing and taking into consideration the exceptional mitigating circumstances of the cases, it was determined that a one-year reduction of the five-year ban for a breach of art. 20 of the FCE was proper, and similarly a one-year reduction of the three-year ban for the other breaches was also proper.”
Platini will be required to pay roughly $80,000; Blatter, $50,000.