The two most powerful men in world football who were both given eight year ban by the FIFA ethics committee on Monday, have vowed to fight their bans.
FIFA President Blatter and his one-time protege Platini were kicked out of the sport for conflict of interest and disloyalty to FIFA in a $2 million payment deal that is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
Four of the world governing body’s ethics judges found insufficient evidence to prove the transaction was intended as a bribe by Blatter to secure Platini’s support at its 2011 presidential election.
With Blatter claiming he had been “killed” and “betrayed” by the ethics committee he had established and Platini branding the suspensions “a mockery” as the presidents of Fifa and Uefa were cast out of the sport,with both men vowing to fight them to the bitter end, with a succession of appeals set to follow.
The 79-year-old Blatter said: “I will fight. I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. I am suspended eight years – for what?
“To say that it’s a good day for me or for FIFA would be totally wrong.
“Let us say that I’m really sorry. I am sorry. I’m sorry that I am still somewhere a punching ball, I’m sorry that I am as president of FIFA this punching ball.
“And I’m sorry for football, I’m sorry for FIFA that I’m serving for 40 years – I’m sorry for that. Sorry for the 400 plus FIFA team members. I’m sorry for that, I’m sorry. But I’m also sorry for me, how I am treated in this world of humanity and humanitarian qualities”
“I repeat, I regret that I am this punching ball. This organisation that I have served with heart and conscience. The organisation is still working well.”
“Together with (my) Swiss lawyer, we thought that we had convinced the panel of the tribunal about this situation.
“We are in a so-called oral contract or gentleman’s agreement. This agreement was made in 1998, in France, just after the World Cup. Where Mr Platini said he would like to work for FIFA, I said it was wonderful. He said he wanted one million Swiss francs. I said OK, we can pay you part now, part later.
“What astonishes me now about the decision of the FIFA ethics committee is that they deny, they deny the existence of such an agreement.
“I am still the president. I am not ashamed. I regret, but I am not ashamed. I am ashamed about the committee’s decision – and that they don’t go to the evidence. I tell you they have no right to go against the president. The president of FIFA can only be relieved of his activities by the FIFA congress.
“At the next congress, the 27 February, before the election of the new president, even suspended I am president and the president must be first relieved of his duties.
“I’ll be back.”
Platini, who was furious at the Ethics committees decision added: “This decision does not surprise me. The FIFA ethics commission’s procedure against me is a true mockery. It was orchestrated to tarnish my reputation.
“I’m convinced that my fate was decided before the December 18 hearing and that this decision is just a pathetic manoeuvre to hide a true will of taking me out of the football world.
“It has been rigged to tarnish my name by bodies I know well and who for me are bereft of all credibility or legitimacy. I will fight this to the end.”
Blatter and Platini both claimed the $2 million payment which led to their downfall was made following a verbal agreement between them when the Frenchman was recruited to work for the Fifa president between 1998 and 2002.
It was not paid until nine years later, shortly before Platini mandated Uefa members to re-elect Blatter, with the Ethics Committee branding the transaction as “not convincing”.