Embattled Fifa president Sepp Blatter is on the verge of being suspended from football, after a longtime adviser confirmed the investigatory arm of Fifa’s ethics committee had recommended the sanction.
The decision, which still needs to be ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee led by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, would see Blatter suspended until early January.
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Blatter has been under risk of suspension after the ethics committee opened proceedings into claims that he mis-sold a World Cup TV rights contract to disgraced former Fifa official Jack Warner in 2006 and made a “disloyal payment” of £1.3m to Uefa president Michel Platini in 2011. Klaus Stöhlker, a Zurich-based PR man, and other Fifa sources said that the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee, chaired by Cornel Borbély, has recommended that Blatter be suspended provisionally for 90 days.
“What we know is that president Blatter was told he could be suspended for 90 days. The ethics committee has not taken any key decisions, they are waiting for further investigations. There is no guilt impugned,” said Stöhlker. “They put the ball to Mr Lauber in Switzerland. He is now in position for further investigation. At least president Blatter has not flown away from his throne but is still in power. It’s a very difficult situation. It’s not good for global football.”
Michael Lauber is the Swiss attorney general who last month said that Blatter was facing criminal investigation over the Warner contract and the payment to Platini, whose fate is also in the hands of the ethics committee.
Blatter had promised to quit next February in the wake of an avalanche of corruption allegations but the move could effectively end his 17-year tenure as Fifa president and four decades at the heart of football’s global governing body.
Stöhlker, a Blatter loyalist, said that his Fifa career was not necessarily over. “He is quiet, he is reluctant, he is fully prepared to take his responsibilities,” he told the Guardian. “He is the only one who can lead Fifa. The picture for 90 days is not pleasant.”
Fifa has been in turmoil since May, when a series of dawn raids heralded the worst crisis in its history and US prosecutors indicted 14 individuals, including nine current or former Fifa officials, on charges of money laundering, racketeering and corruption. -UK Guardian