FIFA President Sepp Blatter Provisionally Suspended

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been provisionally suspended by the organisation’s ethics committee.

The suspension has to be confirmed by German Judge Hans Joachim Eckhert, chairman of the Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber.

The ethics committee met this week after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against Mr Blatter over a £1.3m payment to UEFA President Michel Platini.

Klaus Stoehlker, who has advised Mr Blatter in the past, says the committee made the ruling pending further investigations by the authorities.

He described it as a “pending” verdict, and said no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.

The announcement comes just hours after Mr Blatter criticised the criminal investigation against him in Switzerland, describing it as “outrageous”.

He also defended his decision to remain as head of the football organising body and not step down immediately, as worldwide sponsors have urged.

Sky News’ sports correspondent Paul Kelso says the 90-day suspension is the longest FIFA’s ethics committee can hand down while they carry out their investigation.

Kelso says the suspension is “very, very significant news”, adding that, if confirmed by Judge Eckhert, it “could very well be the end of Mr Blatter’s 17 rocky years in power”.

Mr Blatter is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” and his office has been searched.

The allegations relate to suspicion over a “disloyal payment” of 2m Swiss francs (£1.3m) to Mr Platini, which was “allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002”.

Mr Platini said the payment “relates to work which I carried out under a contract” and he “was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters” to the authorities. The Frenchman is not accused of any wrongdoing.

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