Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 21st 2015 Contents A45
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GENEVA---Judgment day for Sepp
Blatter and Michel Platini dawns
today when FIFA s ethics court is
expected to ban the scandal-scarred
soccer body s most powerful lead-
The FIFA president and his one-
time intended successor face being
kicked out of the world s favourite
sport for at least several years over
a $2 million payment Blatter
approved for Platini in 2011.
Both deny wrongdoing yet a con-
flict of interest in managing FIFA
money---by agreeing the payment
without telling executive committee
colleagues---is a likely basis for guilty
verdicts in rulings.
Bans of around ten years are pos-
sible, judging by recent FIFA ethics
committee sanctions in cases not
involving financial misconduct.
Blatter and Platini, through his
lawyers, already promised appeals
that would need to be processed
urgently ahead of FIFA s presidential
election on February 26. Both are
expected to be defiant if found guilty.
Blatter has called an 11 am (1000
GMT) news conference today at the
former FIFA offices in Zurich, near
the current headquarters where he
spent eight hours at an ethics hearing
Platini refused to attend his ten-
hour hearing on Friday, and gave his
lawyers a statement to read to the
four ethics judges.
"I am already judged, I am already
condemned," Platini s statement said,
complaining at public comments
from officials close to the ethics
process since the allegation emerged
three months ago.
Blatter and Platini have strong
motivation to fight a ban.
Blatter, who turns 80 in March,
wants a FIFA swansong by hosting
the election congress in Zurich and
being made honorary president by
the 209 member federations.
The 60-year-old Platini wants to
clear his name, pass a FIFA integrity
check and be declared an official
candidate in the election he was pre-
viously favoured to win.
His campaign stalled since being
quizzed on September 25 in a Swiss
federal investigation of suspected
criminal mismanagement at FIFA.
The case centres on Platini, as
UEFA president and a FIFA vice
president in 2011, getting about $2
million as uncontracted salary for
working as Blatter s adviser in 1999-
The agreement was "a classic con-
flict of interest" between two exec-
utive committee members, FIFA
audit panel chairman Domenico
Scala said in October.
In media interviews, Platini and
Blatter said the former France captain
asked for a salary of one million
He had a contract for 300,000
Swiss francs, in line with FIFA s
then-wage structure, plus a "gen-
tleman s agreement" to get the rest
later. Swiss law obliged FIFA only
to pay the deferred money within
Platini was paid in February 2011,
just before Blatter began campaign-
ing for re-election against Mohamed
bin Hammam of Qatar. Platini s
UEFA urged its members weeks
before the June 2011 poll to back
Blatter, who was elected unopposed
when Bin Hammam was implicated
Few FIFA officials knew of the
Platini payment which emerged dur-
ing a wider Swiss probe of the gov-
erning body s business affairs,
including suspected money laun-
dering in the 2018 and 2022 World
Cup bidding contests.
Switzerland s attorney general
opened criminal proceedings against
Blatter for the suspected "disloyal
payment" of FIFA money to Platini
and selling undervalued World Cup
TV rights for the Caribbean.
Platini s status in the criminal case
is "between a witness and an
accused person," attorney general
Michael Lauber said in October.
Today, Blatter could get a longer
ban than Platini if his case involves
falsifying FIFA accounts. The debt
to Platini was not booked in financial
reports from 2002-10.
In recent ethics cases where finan-
cial misconduct was not proven,
judges imposed a six-year ban on
FIFA honorary vice president Chung
Mong-joon of South Korea and seven
years for Harold Mayne-Nicholls of
Chile, who led FIFA s technical
inspections of the 2018-2022 bids.
Any sanctions imposed today can
be challenged at the FIFA appeals
committee and the Court of Arbi-
tration for Sport. FIFA rules state a
list of candidates must be finalised
one month before the election in
Blatter has suggested he could
pursue a lengthier appeal to Switzer-
land s highest court, the federal tri-
bunal, which can intervene if legal
process was abused.
STUTTGART---Juergen Kramny has
been promoted to fulltime coach at
Stuttgart, one day after a 3--1 victory
Kramny has been in charge on an
interim basis for nearly a month,
since the firing of Alexander
Zorninger. Saturday's win against
Wolfsburg lifted Stuttgart out of the
relegation zone. Stuttgart's director
Robin Dutt says that under Kramny
"we've seen a development from
game to game and we want to take
this momentum into 2016."
Kramny received a contract
Juergen Kramny gets fulltime Stuttgart job
...for Blatter, Platini in FIFA ethics case
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, and his lawyer Lorenz Erni, right, arrive in a car at the FIFA
headquarters Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday morning. AP PHOTOS
In this file photo UEFA-President Michel Platini of France is surrounded by media after a
hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
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