Sepp Blatter, the suspended president of FIFA, international soccer's governing body, plans to appeal the eight-year ban imposed by the organization last month. Blatter’s attorney, Richard Cullen, told Agence France-Presse Sunday his client would fight FIFA’s ruling.
Both Blatter and Michel Platini, the former president of the Union of European Football Associations, were suspended by FIFA for eight years after the association’s ethics committee found them guilty on multiple charges, including a conflict of interest and dereliction of duty. In announcing the suspensions, the committee cited Blatter’s authorization of a payment to Platini of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.01 million) in 2011 for work done between 1999 and 2002.
When the committee decision was announced in December 2015, Platini was quick to criticize it. “It has been rigged to tarnish my name by bodies I know well and who for me are bereft of all credibility or legitimacy,” he said.
Blatter held a press conference after the decision was made public. “I am sorry that I am a punching ball,” he said. “I am sorry for football ... I am now suspended eight years. Suspended eight years for what?”
First elected as FIFA's president in June 1998, the 79-year-old Blatter served 17 years in the position. And from 1998 to 2002, Platini served as a special adviser to him.
In May 2015, the same month seven FIFA officials were arrested in connection with a corruption investigation, Blatter controversially ran for re-election for a fifth term. He won, but, just days afterward, he announced his eventual resignation from the post.
Issa Hayatou, a 69-year-old Cameroonian senior vice president of FIFA, is currently serving as acting president of the association.