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Eight Year Ban Seals Blatter’s Career

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KUALA LUMPUR – The eight-year ban imposed on International Football Federation (FIFA) President, Sepp Blatter for abuse of power in a USD2 million (about RM8,600,100) scandal spells doom to his career which has been dogged by controversy.

The ban is tantamount to his career coming to an end as Blatter will be 80 next year, says former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary-general, Datuk Peter Velappan.

Velappan said the FIFA Ethics Committee decision to ban Blatter over the scandal which saw Vice-President and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President, Michel Platini receiving the money was correct.

Platini was also banned for eight years by the committee in connection with the scandal.

Velappan noted that Blatter would officially finish his term in February at the FIFA Congress. He felt it (eight-year ban) was a bit tough on the Swiss who would turn 80 (next year), thus heralding the demise of his career.

“He was appointed by the congress, the supreme body of football and he is answerable to the congress.

“That’s why, I’m surprised that the Ethics Committee banned him, which is a decision far and beyond the congress. I do not know whether this is allowed constitutionally.

“…because, when a committee makes a decision, it should first go to the Executive Committee and then to the congress. I’m not quite sure whether the process of the suspension is valid or subject to congress approval.

“It depends on the terms and condition of the Ethics Committee. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of that,” he said when contacted by Bernama yesterday.

However, Velappan said Platini still had between 15 and 20 years of show in football, meaning he could still make a comeback after the eight-year ban.

Yesterday, Blatter and Platini were banned and fined 50,000 Swiss Franc (RM216,696) and 80,000 Swiss Franc (RM346,715), respectively over ethics violation.

It ended Blatter’s 17 years of power in FIFA in disgrace.

Vellapan believed there was no conspiracy behind the decision made by the committee as the case was investigated thoroughly before arriving at the decision.

“They interviewed Blatter for eight hours but unfortunately, Platini was a bit arrogant and refused to attend the interview. Definitely, it is an abuse of office of the (FIFA) president to make such a large payment, by word of mouth and for Platini to accept it,” he said.

However, it is learnt that Blatter and Platini would challenge the decision in FIFA’s Appeal Committee, as well as Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland.

On the right to host the World Cup, Velappan said the 2018 Russian edition would not face any problem since the project had already commenced.

However, for the 2022 Qatar edition, problems may arise.

— BERNAMA

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