FIFA President Blatter and his one-time protege Platini were kicked out of the sport for conflict of interest and disloyalty to FIFA in a $2 million payment deal that is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
Platini’s bid to succeed his former mentor in the Feb. 26 presidential election is now likely over, though both are expected to appeal at the FIFA appeals committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Blatter has suggested he could pursue a lengthier appeal to Switzerland’s highest court, the federal tribunal, which can intervene if legal process was abused.
Ethics judges decided that Blatter and Platini broke FIFA Code of Ethics rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering or receiving gifts.
Both denied wrongdoing in 2011 when Platini took $2 million of FIFA money approved by Blatter as uncontracted salary for work as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002.
Blatter was fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,250) and Platini, a FIFA vice president and head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, was fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($80,400).
“Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr. Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment,” the judges said. “By failing to place FIFA’s interests first and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Mr. Blatter violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA.
“His (Blatter’s) assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.”
Platini, the judges said, “failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities.”