FIFA’s ethics committee has requested that the president of world soccer’s governing body, Sepp Blatter, be suspended for 90 days, according to reports. Last month, the Swiss attorney general announced it had opened criminal proceedings against Blatter over a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) made in 2011 to Michel Platini, the current president of the Union of European Football Associations.
Both men have denied wrongdoing, with Blatter’s lawyers insisting the Swiss 79-year-old will not step down and bring an early end to his presidency. There has been no decision on whether to suspend Platini.
Blatter is also under investigation for signing a television-rights contract alleged to be “unfavorable” to FIFA with Jack Warner, former head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. The Trinidad and Tobago native has since been banned from soccer for life by FIFA, which cited repeated misconduct.
Just days after winning re-election in May amid the biggest corruption scandal to hit FIFA in its 111-year history, Blatter announced he was calling for a fresh election and would not be standing. The new vote is scheduled for February, with Frenchman Platini the front-runner to replace Blatter, who has headed the organization since 1998.
But FIFA’s ethics committee is believed to be meeting in Zurich to decide what sanctions to take against both Blatter and Platini, with a decision expected in the coming days. And, according to comments from Blatter adviser Klaus Stoehlker to BBC Sport, Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, will recommend Blatter’s immediate suspension.
"The news was communicated to the president this afternoon," Stoehlker said. "He is calm. Remember, he is the father of the ethics committee. This is provisional for 90 days but he is not actually suspended. The committee has not yet made a decision and their meetings continue."
Blatter has told German publication Bunte that he was being "condemned without there being any evidence for wrongdoing."
If the suspension is carried out, FIFA's most senior vice president, Issa Hayatou, would be expected to take up Blatter's position on an interim basis.