ZURICH – Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been handed a six-year and eight months’ ban from football, the game’s global governing body has announced.
The new sanctions were imposed for multiple breaches of Fifa’s ethics code and comes into force when a current suspension ends in October, according to the global football governing body. The same length of suspension has been imposed on the organisation’s former secretary general Jérôme Valcke. Both officials were also fined 1m Swiss francs (about Ugx3,917,820,000), each, Fifa said.
A statement from Fifa read: “The investigations into Messrs Blatter and Valcke covered various charges, in particular concerning bonus payments in relation to Fifa competitions that were paid to top Fifa management officials, various amendments and extensions of employment contracts, as well as reimbursement by Fifa of private legal costs in the case of Mr Valcke.”
Blatter was found to have accepted undue economic benefits totalling to 23m Swiss francs (about Ugx 70,520,800,000) and approved payments or bonuses of a further equivalent of Ugx180,220,000,000 to other officials.
The adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee found Blatter, 85, in breach of rules concerning duty of loyalty, conflicts of interest and offering or accepting gifts or other benefits. Valcke, 60, was found to have breached the same ethics code articles, plus abuse of position.
Valcke was found to have accepted undue benefits worth Ugx152,795,000,000 in relation to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa; Ugx39,178,200,000 in relation to the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and Ugx43,096,000,000 in relation to the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Blatter, whose behaviour the ethics committee described as ‘completely reprehensible,’ and Valcke have been banned from involvement in the game since 2015. They have 21 days to lodge an appeal against the sanctions and decision with the court of arbitration for sport.
Blatter said in a statement released by his spokesman Thomas Renggli that it was a ‘painful and incomprehensible blow’ and added: “The ethics committee in its current form has nothing to do with an independent body – it is much more the extended arm of the Fifa president [Gianni Infantino] and not much more than a ‘parallel justice.”