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FIFA panel tells Blatter, Platini why they were banned

FIFA panel tells Blatter, Platini why they were banned

ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA’s ethics panel said on Saturday it had formally given outgoing President Sepp Blatter and European soccer head Michel Platini the reasons for their eight-year bans from the game, information both men could use in an appeal.

Blatter and Platini were banned last month amid the worst corruption scandal in the history of world soccer’s governing body.

“After receiving the grounds for the decisions, both officials may lodge an appeal with the FIFA Appeal Committee,” the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee said in a statement, without giving details on the information it sent.

A lawyer for Platini, suspended head of European soccer body UEFA, said he would appeal. Platini withdrew from the race to succeed Blatter this week.

“We will immediately lodge an appeal with the FIFA appeal committee, before going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport as soon as possible,” Platini lawyer Thibaud d’Ales told Reuters in Paris.

He added that “the FIFA appeal committee being a FIFA body, we do not have high hopes that making an appeal there will change things”.

Platini had initially been seen as the favourite to replace Blatter in the Feb. 26 election.

D’Ales said FIFA had now completely dropped accusations of corruption and only talks about “a possible conflict of interest and lack of loyalty”.

“We will fight these arguments strongly,” he said.

Blatter and Platini were both banned over a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) made to the Frenchman by FIFA with Blatter’s approval in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.

The committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest, though both men denied wrongdoing.

The sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States, where 41 soccer officials and sports entities have been indicted on corruption charges.

(Reporting by Michael Shields in ZURICH and Emmanuel Jarry and Geert De Clercq in PARIS; Editing by Andrew Heavens/Jeremy Gaunt)

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