World soccer rocked by suspension of Blatter and Platini

Thu Oct 8, 2015 3:07pm EDT
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By Simon Evans and Joshua Franklin

ZURICH (Reuters) - World soccer chief Sepp Blatter and European boss Michel Platini were suspended on Thursday, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as their sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.

Blatter, the Swiss who has been president of world governing body FIFA since 1998, was already due to stand down after an election to replace him in February.

Platini, head of European body UEFA, was a frontrunner to replace him. His shrinking election hopes now depend on whether he can overturn the 90-day ban imposed by FIFA's Ethics Committee through an appeal process.

Despite their denials of wrongdoing, both men have gradually been submerged by the scandal that has rocked the world's most popular sport, beginning with dawn raids and a series of arrests at a Swiss luxury hotel in May.

"During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level," the ethics committee said.

FIFA said in a statement: "Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organization's behalf or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative."

It said his acting replacement was Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, the head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA's most senior vice president.

In 2011, Hayatou, 69, was reprimanded by the International Olympics Committee's ethics commission after he confirmed to them that he was paid by FIFA's former marketing agency International Sport and Leisure in 1995.   Continued...

UEFA President Michel Platini (R) congratulates FIFA President Sepp Blatter after he was re-elected at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015.   REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann