FIFA president and his one-time protoge pick up eight-year ban
ZURICH (AP) — Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his one-time protege Michel Platini were each banned for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee on Monday.
Both men picked up the ban for conflict of interest and disloyalty to FIFA in a $2 million payment deal that is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
"I will fight," Blatter told a news conference in Zurich. "I will fight until the end."
His last words were "I'll be back, thank you."
Blatter made it clear he regretted his current position but declared he was innocent of any wrongdoing.
"I am not ashamed," he said. "I am sorry that I am a punching ball. I am sorry for football... I am now suspended eight years, suspended eight years. Suspended eight years for what?"
Platini was also dismissive of the ethics commission's work, describing the proceedings as a "true mockery."
"I'm convinced that my fate was sealed before the Dec. 18 hearing and that this decision is just a pathetic maneuver to hide a true will of taking me out of the football world," the Frenchman said.
"My behavior has always been faultless and I'm at peace with my own conscience."
Platini, who also said he will file a lawsuit in a civil court to seek damages for what he had endured, now looks unlikely to succeed in his bid to replace Blatter in the Feb. 26 presidential election. In a brief statement, UEFA said it was "extremely disappointed" with the ruling and supported its leader's right to clear his name.