Sports

ZURICH (Web Desk) – Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa boss Michel Platini have been suspended for eight years from all football-related activities following an ethics investigation.

They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a £1.3m ($2m) “disloyal payment” made to Platini in 2011, the BBC reported.

The Fifa ethics committee found Blatter and Platini had demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.

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“I will fight for me and for Fifa,” Blatter, 79, said at a news conference.

Platini said the decision was a “masquerade” intended to “dirty” his name.

Both men continue to deny wrongdoing and intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Swiss Blatter and 60-year-old Frenchman Platini have also been fined £33,700 ($40,000) and £54,000 ($80,000) respectively.

Fifa boss since 1998, Blatter had already announced he was quitting with a presidential election in February.

Platini was tipped as a future leader of football’s world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year.

He is also a former captain of France and has been in charge of Uefa – European football’s governing body – since 2007.

Blatter was in defiant mood at a news conference he had called in advance of the punishments being made public.

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“I will fight,” he said. “I will fight for me and for Fifa.”

He said he was “really sorry” that he is still “a punching ball” and that he has become tainted in the eyes of humanity.

He added that he thought he had convinced the Fifa ethics tribunal that the payment from Fifa to Platini was legitimate.

He plans to appeal, first to Fifa, then Cas. He may also take legal action under Swiss law if needed.

He boycotted his hearing in Zurich on Friday in protest, claiming a decision already appeared to have been made, and now has made it clear he intends to fight his ban.

In the meantime, Uefa has issued a statement, revealing it is “extremely disappointed” with the decision.

It added: “Once again, Uefa supports Michel Platini’s right to a due process and the opportunity to clear his name.”

Blatter and Platini were found guilty of ethics code breaches over the “disloyal payment”.

Both claimed the payment was honouring an agreement made in 1998 for work carried out between 1998 and 2002 when Platini worked as a technical adviser for Blatter.

The payment was not part of Platini’s written contract but the pair insisted it was a verbal agreement, which is legal under Swiss law.

German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chairman of Fifa’s adjudicatory chamber, held disciplinary hearings for the pair last week.

Charges included conflict of interest, false accounting and non co-operation, with investigators submitting a file of more than 50 pages.