(WFI) FIFA’s ethics investigators are seeking lifetime bans for Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, according to reports.

German newspaper Die Welt said Tuesday that investigators have recommended a life ban for the 79-year-old, who has led FIFA since 1998, if he is found guilty of bribery.

Such as sanction may be handed down if he breached Section 21 of FIFA’s Code of Ethics on ‘bribery and corruption’, which states: “Persons bound by this code must not offer, promise, give or accept any personal or undue pecuniary or other advantage in order to obtain or retain business or any other improper advantage to or from anyone within or outside FIFA”.

But if the 2 million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) payment to Platini, at the centre of the FIFA ethics inquiry, is considered only a ‘conflict of interest’, he could still be served with a 10-year ban, the paper reported.

On Monday, FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert confirmed that disciplinary proceedings had been opened against both Blatter and Platini after a review of the ethics investigatory arm’s report on the so-called “disloyal payment” Platini received from FIFA in 2011. Blatter allegedly authorized the transaction for Platini’s consultancy work between 1998 and 2002.

FIFA’s ethics committee declined comment to INSIDER about the alleged sanctions for Blatter and Platini, who are currently serving 90-day suspensions pending an outcome to the investigations. It had previously been thought the most powerful executives in world football might receive seven-year bans for misconduct. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

But Platini’s lawyer told AFP news agency earlier Tuesday that FIFA’s ethics committee was seeking the maximum sanction for the UEFA president. Thibaud d’Alès described the possible life ban as a “scandal” and “excessive”.

“This ban is subject to the proof of corruption, but the punishment is clearly excessive. It’s not based on anything in the case,” he told AFP.

“The overreaching of the request really convinces us of this commission’s total lack of credibility,” D’Ales told the Associated Press. “There is not a single tangible element in this case that can confirm the suspicions.”

News of Platini’s possible sanction virtually rules him out of the race for the FIFA presidency.

Blatter and Platini face hearings in front of Eckert and likely three other judges, INSIDER is told. FIFA is currently finalizing the composition of the ethics court judges. Eckert’s panel will decide the fate of the pair in December.

They can appeal any sanctions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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