January 29, 2016 / 1:16 PM / 3 years ago

Blatter to attend appeal hearing on February 16

FIFA President Sepp Blatter leaves after his statement during a news conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

ZURICH (Reuters) - Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter will return to the headquarters of soccer’s governing body on Feb. 16 when his appeal against his ban from the sport will be heard, according to his advisor.

Blatter, head of soccer’s scandal-plagued governing body since 1998, was banned in December from all football-related activity for eight years by the ethics committee of FIFA, mired in the worst graft scandal its 111-year history.

“Mr Blatter will attend an appeal hearing at on Feb 16, at the home of FIFA, and we expect the decision as soon as possible,” his advisor Thomas Renggli told Reuters.

Blatter’s case will initially be dealt with by FIFA’s own Appeal Committee. Renggli said that, if he is unsuccessful, he will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Blatter, 79, who has denied wrongdoing, was banned for ethics violations over a 2 million Swiss francs ($1.96 million) payment FIFA made to European soccer boss Michel Platini with Blatter’s approval in 2011.

Platini, who had been the favorite to succeed Blatter, was also banned for eight years. The election for the new FIFA president will take place in Zurich on Feb.26.

A total of 41 individuals and entities, including many former FIFA officials, have been charged with corruption-related offences in the United States as part of the wider scandal.

The U.S. investigation is far from over and FIFA also faces a parallel Swiss investigation.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Ralph Boulton

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