FIFA, on Wednesday reduced the bans against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, but maintained that the duo are still guilty of ethics violation.
Both were found guilty of conflicts of interest when Blatter approved a $2 million payment to Platini in 2011 for consultancy work done without a contract.
The duo were handed 8-year bans in December, and after protesting their innocence at the FIFA Appeal Committee last week, the bans have now been reduced to 6-years.
The Appeal Committee ruled that “strong mitigating factors” were not taken into account when deciding the severity of the punishment, namely Blatter and Platini’s long history of service in football administration.
A FIFA statement read: “The FIFA Appeal Committee…has partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee,” regarding Blatter, FIFA’s fallen president, and Platini, the head of European football.
“While agreeing with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber in its calculation of the sanction, the Appeal Committee determined that some strong mitigating factors for Mr. Platini and Mr. Blatter were not taken into account when establishing the sanction,” it added, reducing the bans from eight years to six.
However, respective fines of 50,000 and 80,000 Swiss Francs for Blatter and Platini remain.
The Appeal Committee also dismissed attempts by the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee to slam Blatter and Platini with life bans, adding that the pair did not bridge FCE bribery and corruption rules.
“The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption),” the statement read.
“Consequently, the appeal lodged by the investigatory chamber for a life ban from all football-related activity was also dismissed.”
Both Blatter and Platini have constantly denied wrongdoing and claimed they will do all they can to appeal against their respective ban.
FIFA, on Friday Feb. 26, will elect a new president to run the affairs of the world football.
With Platini, who had been the leading candidate to succeed Blatter out of the race, UEFA General Secretary, Gianni Infantino and Sheikh Salman, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), have led a five-man race to become the new president.