FIFA election to go ahead but Blatter told to stay away

Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:25pm EST
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By Brian Homewood and Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - World soccer's governing body FIFA will proceed with an election to pick a new president on Friday to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter and vote on a set of reforms aimed at restoring its credibility after the worst graft scandal in its history.

One candidate had sought to have the vote on a new president delayed but sport's highest tribunal threw out his request, clearing the way for FIFA to hold its planned Extraordinary Congress in Zurich.

FIFA urged members to approve its reforms at the congress, including term limits for top officials and disclosure of their earnings, to rebuild trust after several dozen officials were indicted in the United States and a criminal investigation was begun in Switzerland.

Swiss Blatter, whose 18-year tenure officially ends this week, had hoped to attend the Congress but lost an appeal against his eight-year ban for ethics violations, meaning he must stay away.

The federation's appeal committee nevertheless reduced the suspension to six years in acknowledgement of Blatter's "services rendered to FIFA."

The committee also shaved two years off its suspension for European soccer boss Michel Platini, who had been favorite to replace Blatter until an investigation began into a $2.03 million payment FIFA made to him in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.

"Mr Platini's and Mr Blatter's activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor," the committee said.

Platini was not impressed.   Continued...

Combination file photograph of FIFA President Sepp Blatter addressing a news conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland June 2, 2015 and UEFA President Michel Platini (R) attending the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/Files