8 Oct 2015

FIFA president faces 90-day suspension

12:00 pm on 8 October 2015

Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, is facing a 90-day provisional suspension.

FIFA President Joseph Blatter in Cape Town, South Africa, 2009.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter (file). Photo: AFP

Members of FIFA's ethics committee have recommended the sanction after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against the 79-year-old.

He is accused of signing a contract "unfavourable" to football's governing body and making a "disloyal payment" to Uefa president Michel Platini.

Mr Blatter denies any wrongdoing and his lawyers said he had "not been notified of any action".

European football's chief Platini - who wants to succeed Mr Blatter - has said the payment was "valid compensation" from his time working under the Swiss more than nine years ago.

The investigatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee has requested the ban and a final decision is likely to be made on Thursday (Friday NZT) by Hans Joachim Eckhert, the head of FIFA's ethics adjudicatory chamber.

Mr Blatter's adviser Klauss Stohlker had said the FIFA president was "calm" after being told the news, but a statement from his legal representatives denied he had been made aware of any decision.

It said: "We would expect that the ethics committee would want to hear from the president and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action."

On Wednesday, Mr Blatter told a German magazine that he was being "condemned without there being any evidence for wrongdoing".

The investigation is centred on allegations believed to be around a 2005 TV rights deal between FIFA and Jack Warner, the former president of Concacaf, the governing body of football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The ethics committee had been meeting in Zurich since Monday and have yet to make a decision on Platini, 60.

It is also examining a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.35m) that Platini received in 2011 for working for Mr Blatter.

The Frenchman has provided information to the criminal investigation but said he has done so as a witness.

Swiss prosecutors said he is being treated as "in between a witness and an accused person" as they investigate corruption at FIFA.

The latest development came hours after former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon, who is also under investigation by FIFA's ethics committee, told BBC Sport that his campaign to succeed Mr Blatter was being "smeared".

Mr Blatter won a fifth consecutive FIFA presidential election on 29 May but, following claims of corruption, announced his decision to step down on 2 June. He is due to finish his term at a FIFA extraordinary congress on 26 February.

- BBC