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FIFA: Sepp Blatter formally appeals against 90-day ban

Issa Hayatou and Sepp Blatter
New acting President of FIFA Issa Hayatou and the recently-banned Sepp Blatter

Barely a day after his suspension for 90 days by the FIFA Ethics Committee, Thursday, the embattled former president, Sepp Blatter, has filed formally an appeal against the decision to bar him from office.

The 79-year-old Swiss national was suspended from all duties while Fifa’s ethics committee which is investigating corruption claims against its chief.

He was suspended, Thursday along with secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini, who also doubles as UEFA president.

Platini is also expected to contest the ban “in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time” as all three officials deny any wrongdoing.

Klaus Stohlker, Blatter’s friend and adviser, said: “He has appealed already to Fifa’s appeal committee. He is defending his position and he is sure that he will be found not guilty.”

African football confederation chief Issa Hayatou, Fifa’s longest-serving vice-president, is heading the organisation in Blatter’s enforced absence.

Fifa’s ethics committee began its investigation into Blatter after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against him in September.

He is accused of signing a contract “unfavourable” to Fifa and making a “disloyal payment” to Platini.

The ethics committee also opened an inquiry into Platini over the 2m euros (£1.35m) payment, which was made nine years after the 60-year-old Frenchman carried out consultation work for Blatter.

Valcke was already on gardening leave from his Fifa post following newspaper allegations last month which implicated the 55-year-old in a scheme to profit from the sale of World Cup tickets.

Valcke’s lawyer said that his client was “confident” he will be fully cleared of the “false allegations” when “all the facts come out”.

Blatter won a fifth consecutive presidential election in May, but he announced he would be stepping down just days later following the launch of two investigations into Fifa by United States and Swiss authorities.

He is due to finish his term on 26 February, when a new president will be elected.

Platini, who also heads European football body Uefa, is one of the favourites to replace him and still plans to stand. He has the full backing of Uefa, which is holding an emergency meeting next week.

But FA chairman Greg Dyke says the English game’s governing body will withdraw its support for the former France international midfielder if he is found to have “behaved dishonestly”.

Meanwhile, the European Club Association, which represents more than 200 clubs, has become the latest group to call for reform at Fifa.

Citing its “concern over the developments at Fifa over the last few months”, the ECA said in a statement it wanted more involvement in the running of the organisation.

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