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Blatter Back to FIFA to Appeal against Eight-Year Ban - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 file photo FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, left, leave after a press conference in Marrakech, Morocco. Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has been has been banned from all soccer-related activity for 12 years by the governing body's ethics committee, Friday Feb. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

In this Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 file photo FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, left, leave after a press conference in Marrakech, Morocco. Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has been has been banned from all soccer-related activity for 12 years by the governing body’s ethics committee, Friday Feb. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

Banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter is back at the headquarters of soccer’s governing body for a hearing to appeal against his eight-year suspension from the sport.

Blatter was banned in December after he was found guilty of a two million Swiss francs ($2 million) “disloyal payment” to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011by FIFA with Blatter’s approval for work completed a decade earlier.

Blatter,79, arrived at 7.30 am local time (0800 GMT) for his scheduled 9 a.m. session avoiding cameramen and photographers who had expected him to arrive later.

His case is being heard by FIFA’s Appeal Committee.

Frenchman Platini, who was also served with an eight-year ban for his role in the payment, had an eight-hour hearing on Monday. He said it focused on a verbal agreement with Blatter to get uncontracted salary for working as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002.

Arriving for his hearing with FIFA’s appeals committee, Platini told waiting reporters: “I am not fighting for my future, I am fighting against injustice.”

“If I had anything to reproach myself for, I would be hiding in Siberia in shame”, he said in remarks reported by L’Equipe.

“I will look people in the eyes, I have done nothing and I fear nothing. I am 60 years old and I never had a red card on the pitch.”

Platini continued: “Is it Blatter who put me in this situation? Not at all, he is in the same situation as me. Someone pushed the button and I will try to find out who.”

FIFA’s ethics committee imposed the bans on Blatter and Platini saying that the payment, made at a time when the former was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest. Both men denied wrongdoing.

UEFA stated last month that it will keep election for its presidency on hold until Platini’s appeals process has been exhausted.

The FIFA appeals committee, which is chaired by Larry Mussenden, the president of the Bermuda Football Association, has the power to reduce, increase or overturn the ban imposed in December.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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