FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA head Michel Platini have been suspended from all footballing activities for the next eight years following an extensive ethics investigation, the BBC reports.
The bans will be effective immediately, and at 79-years-old, almost certainly brings Blatter’s career to a premature end.
Blatter, who had been in charge of FIFA since 1998, had already announced his intention to step down from the top job come February’s presidential election.
Platini, 60, had been hoping to succeed Blatter in the role of FIFA president after leading the way with UEFA since 2007, and this ruling will be seen as a black mark on the career of the three-time European Footballer of the Year.
The pair were found guilty of breaching the ethics code over a “disloyal payment” to the Frenchman of £1.3m ($1.94m) back in 2011, though both men denied any wrongdoing, claiming that they were honouring an agreement made in 1998 for charitable work carried out between 1998 and 2002 when Platini was working as a technical advisor to Blatter.
It was claimed that the payment was part of a spoken agreement between the men, which the BBC claim is legal under Swiss law.
The chairman of Fifa’s adjudicatory chamber, Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, held disciplinary hearings over the past week with investigators handing in a 50-page report with charges citing conflict of interest, false accounting and non co-operation.
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