Blatter loses appeal at CAS
Sepp Blatter lost his appeal against a six-year ban by FIFA yesterday, and now has more serious legal cases lined up against him.
Blatter said in a statement it was "difficult" to accept the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) verdict, but that "the way the case progressed, no other verdict could be expected".
The former FIFA president, who was banned for approving a US$2 million payment to Michel Platini in 2011, said he will accept the decision. He could have pursued a further appeal at Switzerland's supreme court.
"I have experienced much in my 41 years in FIFA. I mostly learned that you can win in sport, but you can also lose," Blatter said. "Nevertheless I look back with gratitude to all the years, in which I was able to realise my ideals for football and serve FIFA."
The verdict ends Blatter's hopes of becoming honorary president of the football body he left in disgrace in February. He must also pay FIFA a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs (US$49,500).
Still, his legal problems are far from over.
Blatter faces a separate FIFA ethics investigation into suspected bribery linked to multi-million-dollar bonuses in top executives' contracts. Swiss prosecutors also opened criminal proceedings against Blatter for the Platini payment, and a sale of World Cup television rights.
He is also a stated target of American federal prosecutors in their sprawling investigation of corruption linked to international football officials, and an expected witness in a separate Swiss probe of German organisers of the 2006 World Cup.
Blatter denies any wrongdoing.
The three-member CAS panel was judging whether Blatter was guilty of unethically offering a cash gift and conflict of interest with Platini, who was a FIFA vice president in 2011.
Blatter and Platini both said the US$2 million was uncontracted salary based on a verbal agreement more than a decade earlier. From 1999 to 2002, the former France great was the newly elected Blatter's presidential adviser.
"The payment amounted to an undue gift, as it had no contractual basis," CAS said in a statement.
Blatter said yesterday's ruling was "incomprehensible" that his version was not accepted "in spite of my testimony to the contrary and the testimony given by other witnesses".
However, that explanation of a salary deal has now been doubted by three sets of judges at FIFA and CAS.
The FIFA ethics committee investigated after the payment emerged in September 2015 during the wider Swiss federal probe of FIFA.