Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he will not appeal against the ban imposed on him last month, claiming the members of the world governing body’s ethics committee are “biased”.
The 85-year-old was issued with a suspension of six years and eight months on March 24, which will begin when an existing ban expires in October.
FIFA’s ethics committee found Blatter was part of a “vicious circle” of officials who sought to award themselves over £50million in undeclared payments.
Adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee sanctions Mr Joseph S. Blatter and Mr Jérôme Valcke: https://t.co/riqpjyPzqS— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) March 24, 2021
He was given 21 days from notification of the sanction to send a statement of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if he wished to challenge the ruling, but has opted not to do so.
Blatter told the PA news agency via a spokesman: “I do not consider the FIFA ethics committee to have jurisdiction in this matter.
“Further, the committee members are biased. So it doesn’t make sense to appeal.”
The decision not to appeal means Blatter will be banned from football until June 2028, when he will be 92.
He was found to have accepted undue economic benefits totalling 23 million Swiss francs (just under £18m) and approved payments or bonuses of a further 46m Swiss francs (just under £36m) to other officials. In addition to the ban, he was fined one million Swiss francs (just under £780,000).
In its judgement, the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee described Blatter’s behaviour as “completely reprehensible”.
Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was one of the officials who was found to have benefited from the undue payments. Like Blatter, he was banned for a further six years and eight months and fined one million Swiss francs.
He is currently serving a 10-year ban imposed in 2015 – again, his new suspension will only begin when the current sanction runs out.
Undue benefits to Blatter were authorised by Valcke and Julio Grondona, the former president of the Argentinian football federation who died in 2014.
Blatter then approved a variety of benefits – in the form of amended contract agreements or bonus payments – to Valcke, Grondona and FIFA’s former finance director Markus Kattner.
The men were found by FIFA’s ethics investigators to have “set up a scheme through which they were allowing themselves to obtain extraordinary benefits with a minimum of effort”.
“This vicious circle saw three of them (Blatter, Grondona and Valcke) signing the amendment contracts of the others and approving the respective extraordinary bonuses, while the fourth (Kattner) was in charge of implementing the payment of such bonuses.”
Investigators found employment contracts for Blatter, Valcke and Kattner were amended “without any supervision or control from an internal or external body in FIFA” and that the officials involved “actively concealed” the bonus payment awards by not fully declaring them in the organisation’s financial records.
Incredibly, it also found that within the amended contracts for Valcke and Kattner, which Blatter approved, were indemnity clauses which meant they would be due financial compensation even in the event that their employment was terminated with good cause.
A Zurich Labour Court ruled last month that FIFA’s decision to dismiss Kattner in 2016 was justified and appropriate.