Sepp Blatter planning to clear his name after FIFA ban - lawyers
Sepp Blatter's lawyers have said the FIFA president "did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise," after he was handed a 90-day provisional suspension by the governing body's Ethics Committee.
Blatter, who is the subject of an investigation by the Attorney General in Switzerland, is said to be "disappointed" that the Ethics Committee did not give him a chance to be heard and is looking to clear his name.
The statement from Blatter's lawyers read: "President Blatter was disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not follow the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code, both of which provide for an opportunity to be heard.
"Further, the Ethics Committee based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the Attorney General in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president. In fact, the prosecutors will be obliged by law to dismiss the case if their investigation, barely two weeks old, does not establish sufficient evidence.
"President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise."
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FIFA announced on Thursday that UEFA president Michel Platini and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke would also serve 90-day suspensions, while FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon was banned for six years.
FIFA issued a further statement later in the day confirming that Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou would lead the governing body in Blatter's absence as he is the longest serving member of the Executive Committee.
The statement read: "Today, in accordance with FIFA's Code of Ethics, Joseph S. Blatter was relieved of all his duties as FIFA President following the decision of the Independent Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee to provisionally ban him from all football activities on a national and international level.
"Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation's behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.
"As mandated by article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes, Issa Hayatou, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA's Executive Committee, will serve as Acting President of FIFA."
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Meanwhile, professional players' union FIFPro has issued a statement expressing its concern that Blatter, Platini and Valcke had all been suspended.
The FIFPro statement read: "FIFPro is disappointed to learn that some of world football's highest-ranking officials are now suspended by FIFA's Ethics Committee as the game lurches from one crisis to another.
"While inappropriate to comment on individuals under investigation, a pattern has emerged that leaves FIFPro with little or no confidence in the ability of FIFA to reform from within.
"It also casts further doubt on the process regarding the proposed FIFA Presidential election on Feb. 26.
"In addition, with senior officials, the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process, and other issues still under investigation, FIFPro considers any decision regarding proposals to reform FIFA during this tumultuous period as lacking any credibility.
"Only a complete governance overhaul involving key stakeholders such as the players and clubs will be sufficient. The new reform Task Force announced by FIFA recently does not meet this criteria.
"FIFPro insists the players are crucial to add much-needed checks and balances, helping FIFA to rid itself of a culture of impropriety, while elevating football to unprecedented levels of transparency, accountability and ultimately maximising the game's social role and development as both a sport and business."