The future of embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his heir-apparent Michel Platini was in play Sunday, as they faced scrutiny by the football world body’s ethics committee that could end with suspension.
Committee spokesman Andreas Bantel told AFP he could not comment on individual cases, and refused to confirm reports that the committee had opened a probe against the two most powerful men in football.
But he emphasised that “if there is an initial suspicion, the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee initiates a formal proceedings.”
“These rules apply to all people in football regardless of their position or name,” he wrote in an email.
And there is plenty of suspicion to go around, with the ethics committee expected to meet in the coming days.
In a dramatic escalation of the corruption scandal engulfing world football since May, Swiss investigators swept into FIFA’s headquarters on Friday as they turned their attention to Blatter and Platini.
Authorities said a criminal investigation had been opened against Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement, while UEFA chief Platini, who was favourite to win an election to find a successor to Blatter, had come under scrutiny over a multi-million-dollar payment.
Swiss prosecutors said Friday that Blatter was being investigated over the 2005 sale of World Cup television rights to the Caribbean Football Union, then run by his former ally Jack Warner, a deal which had been “unfavourable for FIFA”.
Blatter, who has denied any wrongdoing, was also suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of two million dollars to Platini in February 2011 allegedly made for work the Frenchman carried out for FIFA between 1999 and 2002.