The former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been given a new ban of six years and eight months from football, the game’s global governing body has announced.
The ban has been imposed for multiple breaches of Fifa’s ethics code and comes into force when a current suspension ends in October, Fifa said. The same length of suspension has been imposed on the organisation’s former secretary general Jérôme Valcke. Both men have been fined 1m Swiss francs (almost £780,000), Fifa said.
A statement from Fifa read: “The investigations into Messrs Blatter and Valcke covered various charges, in particular concerning bonus payments in relation to Fifa competitions that were paid to top Fifa management officials, various amendments and extensions of employment contracts, as well as reimbursement by Fifa of private legal costs in the case of Mr Valcke.”
Blatter was found to have accepted undue economic benefits totalling 23m Swiss francs (just under £18m) and approved payments or bonuses of a further CHF46m to other officials.
The adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee found Blatter, 85, in breach of rules concerning duty of loyalty, conflicts of interest and offering or accepting gifts or other benefits. Valcke, 60, was found to have breached those same ethics code articles, plus abuse of position.
Valcke was found to have accepted undue benefits worth CHF30m – 9m in relation to the 2010 World Cup, 10m in relation to the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and 11m in relation to the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Blatter, whose behaviour the ethics committee described as “completely reprehensible”, and Valcke have been banned from involvement in the game since 2015. They have 21 days to lodge an appeal against the sanctions and decision with the court of arbitration for sport.
Blatter said in a statement released by his spokesman Thomas Renggli that it was a “painful and incomprehensible blow” and added: “The ethics committee in its current form has nothing to do with an independent body – it is much more the extended arm of the Fifa president [Gianni Infantino] and not much more than a ‘parallel justice’.”