FIFA vice president and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) president Michel Platini, and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was already on disciplinary leave, were also suspended, members of FIFA’s independent ethics committee, chaired by Hans Joachim Eckert, announced on Thursday.
“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,” FIFA said in a statement.
Issa Hayatou, the senior member of FIFA’s executive committee, will assume the duties of president in the meantime.
Another exec, former FIFA VP Chung Mong-joon, was banned from the sport for six years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($103,385) on Thursday. Chung and Platini were initially possible candidates to replace Blatter. Chung has been found guilty of infringing FIFA’s ethics code in connection with the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“The duration of the bans may be extended for an additional period not exceeding 45 days,” the statement reads. “During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.”
Blatter’s lawyers, Richard Cullen and Lorenz Erni, released a statement criticizing the ethics committee’s decision.
“President Blatter was disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not follow the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code, both of which provide for an opportunity to be heard,” the statement said. “The Ethics Committee based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president. In fact, the prosecutors will be obliged by law to dismiss the case if their investigation, barely two weeks old, does not establish sufficient evidence. President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise.”