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Blatter pledges to contest eight-year ban from football

By Staff Reporter

Published 22/12/2015

Sepp Blatter (left) and Michel Platini
Sepp Blatter (left) and Michel Platini

Banned football executives Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have vowed to fight back against an eight-year exclusion from the sport.

The former Fifa and Uefa bosses were punished for a conflict of interest and disloyalty to Fifa over a payment of £1.3m made in 2011 based on an oral contract.

Both men are appealing their bans. A defiant Mr Blatter said: "I fight for me and I will fight for Fifa. Suspended for eight years and for what?"

He added: "I'm sorry as President of Fifa I'm this punching ball."

Jim Boyce, a former Vice-President of both Fifa and the Irish Football Association, said he welcomed the ban and called for even more transparency from Fifa.

"It beggars belief that that amount of money can be paid without proper accountancy procedures, without proper authorisation and that appears - and I'm using the word appears - to have been the case."

He added that if the allegations against Mr Blatter and Mr Platini were true he could "fully understand what happened".

Mr Boyce has long called for the publication of the Garcia report - an internal FIFA investigation which looked at allegations of corruption in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

He argued Fifa would need to work hard to regain trust.

"Fifa over the past number of years, some of the publicity that has been generated, it's terrible and you know many of these individuals who have been dealt with and are being dealt with.

"I welcome the Swiss prosecution, the American investigation carried out by the FBI because I've always said I believe some of these people should have been dismissed many years ago

He added: "What annoys me is that everyone is tarred with the same brush when the name Fifa is mentioned and I don't think that's fair," he said.

Mr Boyce has known Sepp Blatter for 22 years and Michel Platini for 12, the latter visiting Northern Ireland in the past for an under 19 championships.

Asked if he felt sorry for them he replied: "I'm saddened is probably the word because at the end of the day I don't like to see that happening to people who have given an awful lot to sport.

"But if there's anyone who's found to be acting improperly it doesn't matter, if it's from the very top down they have to be dealt with.

"This is the situation at the minute and let's see what happens when they appeal."

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