ZURICH (Web Desk) – Fifa has provisionally suspended its president Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini for 90 days, the BBC reported on Thursday.
The punishments were handed out by the ethics committee of football’s world governing body, which is investigating the three over corruption allegations.
It also banned ex-Fifa vice-president Chung Mong-joon for six years.
Issa Hayatou, who heads Africa’s football confederation (Caf), will act as Fifa president during Blatter’s ban.
Spain’s Angel Maria Villar is expected to perform the same role at Uefa – European football’s governing body – while Platini is suspended.
Both Chung and Platini are hoping to replace Blatter when he steps down as president in February.
“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,” the body said in a statement.
The three are banned from any football activity in the interim. They deny any wrongdoing.
A statement issued by Blatter’s lawyers said the president was “disappointed” the ethics committee had not followed its own code in allowing him an opportunity to be heard, and claimed the suspension was based on “a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland”.
It added: “President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise.”
Fifa’s ethics committee began its investigation into Blatter after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against the 79-year-old.
He is accused of signing a contract “unfavourable” to Fifa and making a “disloyal payment” to Platini, who is also president of European football’s governing body – Uefa.
The ethics committee also opened an inquiry into Platini over the 2m euros (£1.35m) payment, which was made nine years after the 60-year-old carried out consultation work for Blatter.
Valcke was already on gardening leave from his Fifa post following newspaper allegations last month which implicated the 54-year-old in a scheme to profit from the sale of World Cup tickets.
Earlier this year, United States authorities indicted 14 Fifa officials and associates on bribery and racketeering charges. A simultaneous Swiss investigation was started into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Just two days later, on 29 May, Blatter won a fifth consecutive Fifa presidential election. However, on 2 June he announced his decision to step down in the wake of the corruption allegations.
He is due to finish his term at a Fifa extraordinary congress on 26 February.
Platini and South Korean billionaire Chung – who was also fined 100,000 Swiss Francs (£67,000) by the ethics committee – are two of the leading candidates to replace him.
Before the imposition of his provisional ban – which relates to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups – Chung claimed Fifa’s investigation into him was an attempt to “smear” his campaign.