LONDON — Two of the leading figures in the governance of soccer across the world, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, have been banned from taking part in the sport for eight years.
Blatter, who is the president of soccer’s global governing body FIFA, and Platini, the boss of the sport’s European body UEFA, were found by FIFA’s ethics committee to be guilty of “abusive execution” of their positions. The charge relates to a payment of $2 million made to Platini, with Blatter’s blessing, in 2011. They claim the payment was for work carried out between 1998 and 2002 when Platini worked as a technical adviser for Blatter, but it was not part of Platini’s written contract. The men claim they made a verbal agreement in 1998.
Both men deny the charges. Blatter has said he will appeal against the ban, and Platini is expected to follow suit.
Blatter, who has been FIFA chief since 1998, had already said he would step down in February, and Platini had been expected to succeed him.