(WFI) Disgraced former football chief Sepp Blatter could face more trouble after losing his appeal of a six-year ban at the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The FIFA president of 17 years led the federation through a period of tremendous growth that in part fueled the greed of several of its top employees. While Blatter has thus far distanced himself from criminal charges, he remains a subject of investigations by Swiss and American prosecutors.
The CAS verdict could just be the beginning of legal drama for Blatter that began in September 2015 when the details of a disloyal $2 million payment to former European football chief Michel Platini were made public. The revelation led to eight-year bans from FIFA for both Blatter and Platini which were reduced to six years by the FIFA Appeals Committee.
CAS reduced Platini’s ban to four years but upheld Blatter’s six-year ban on Monday, citing that Blatter only requested a complete annulment of the ban, not a reduction.
In a statement, Blatter said it was “difficult” to accept the verdict but that “the way the case progressed, no other verdict could be expected”.
“I have experienced much in my 41 years in FIFA,” Blatter said. “I mostly learned that you can win in sport, but you can also lose. Nevertheless I look back with gratitude to all the years, in which I was able to realise my ideals for football and serve FIFA.”
The three-man CAS panel of Manfred Nan, Patrick Lafranchi and Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall determined that Blatter had “unlawfully awarded contributions to Mr. Platini under the FIFA Executive Committee retirement scheme which also amounted to an undue gift”.
Now the Swiss authorities are investigating the Platini payment, searching for just cause to charge Blatter with embezzlement and criminal mismanagement.
The FIFA Ethics Committee is also investigating Blatter for bribery in a case where the former president and FIFA executives Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner wrote employment contracts to each other guaranteeing more than $10 million in bonuses.
Lastly, Blatter is the target of the American probe into corruption of international soccer that has thus far implicated more than 40 football officials and marketing consultants with charges ranging from bribery to money laundering.
Each case is expected to undergo developments in the first half of 2017. Until then, Blatter’s attorneys have advised him to not leave Switzerland as the country does not extradite its own citizens.
By INSIDER Kevin Nutley
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