Reports: FIFA ethics committee recommends Sepp Blatter suspension
FIFA's ethics committee has made the recommendation to suspend president Sepp Blatter for 90 days, according to multiple reports.
The suspension has to be confirmed by Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee.
A former adviser of Blatter, Klaus Stoehlker, has told The Guardian the ruling was made pending an ongoing criminal investigation involving the FIFA president by the Swiss attorney general.
Blatter's sometime adviser Klaus J. Stöhlker: "What we know is that President Blatter was told he has been suspended for 90 days."- Owen Gibson (@owen_g) October 7, 2015
The verdict was described as pending, as no negative findings have yet been made against Blatter.
Blatter's lawyers issued a statement following the initial recommendation from the ethics committee that read, in part: "President Blatter has not been notified of any action taken by the Ethics Committee. We would expect that the Ethics Committee would want to hear from the President and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action."
Stoehlker said that Blatter had heard about the recommendation, but added that, "he has not got any message from the committee ... and he is perfectly under control. He is going to the office tomorrow."
Long-time Blatter aide Walter Gagg told the AP that Blatter has not yet received any information or a decision from the ethics committee.
"I was with Mr. Blatter 10 minutes ago and we know nothing about [a decision]," Gagg said just after 6:30 p.m. in Zurich. "He left now. He had no news."
Earlier Wednesday, Senegalese committee member Abdoulaye Makhtar Diop confirmed the panel were meeting in Zurich to discuss cases involving Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini.
The 90-day suspension is the longest the ethics committee can suspend an official without a conviction and is a significant blow to Blatter, who has maintained his innocence during the ongoing FIFA scandal.
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Blatter is under criminal investigation from Swiss prosecutors and Platini has been implicated as well because of a 2 million Swiss franc (£1.35 million) payment he received from FIFA for his work as technical adviser to the organization between 1999 and 2002.
Platini has not been charged with anything, but has been described as something "between a witness and an accused person" by Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.
The ethics committee can provisionally suspend officials for up to 90 days, the same action it took in May when seven FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich following warrants issued by the United States attorney general.
A spokesperson for Platini said the UEFA president does not feel the need to publicly justify the payment he received from FIFA, despite questions being raised about the timing of the payment. Platini received the payment in 2011 for work supposedly carried out at least nine years earlier.
"[Platini] currently feels that he has given satisfactory explanations to the authorities that are dealing with this case," UEFA head of communications Pedro Pinto said. "Publicly, he feels there is nothing else to add because he feels he has [done] nothing wrong and therefore does not need to justify himself publicly at the moment.''
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Platini has not publicly explained the reason for such a lengthy delay beyond that when he started his role as Blatter's adviser in 1999 he was told "that it was not initially possible to pay the totality of my salary because of FIFA's financial situation at that time."
Lauber has opened criminal proceedings against Blatter regarding the payment. Blatter denied any wrongdoing.
Platini says he is still determined to run for the position of FIFA president and has provided all the necessary information to the investigating authorities.
Nominations for the FIFA presidency needed to be submitted by Oct. 26 with each candidate nominated by at least five national associations.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.