FIFA Suspends President Sepp Blatter And Other Top Officials
The ethics committee of soccer's world governing body has banned the group's president and other leaders for 90 days, citing ongoing investigations into allegations against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini, and FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.
The suspensions go into effect immediately and could be extended by 45 days, FIFA says.
When news of the pending suspension emerged Wednesday, Blatter's adviser said, "He is calm. Remember he is the father of the ethics committee."
Blatter and Platini have been the subject of allegations of an improper $2 million payment from FIFA's leader to Platini, who leads Europe's soccer organization.
The organization that has been wracked by criminal charges of corruption by top officials also says it banned former FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-joon of South Korea for six years, as well as imposing a fine, citing misconduct.
That punishment stems from an inquiry into the bidding process for hosting FIFA's World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022 — a process that U.S. and Swiss investigators have previously described as including millions of dollars in bribes.
The ban upends Chung's campaign to replace Blatter as FIFA's president. As word of a pending ban spread Wednesday, the billionaire businessman said he was the target of a smear campaign orchestrated by Blatter.
At that news conference, Chung also said he's suing Blatter for $100 million over embezzlement and irregularities at FIFA.
"Mr. Blatter, in short, is a hypocrite and a liar," Chung said.
He later added, "The fact that I am the target of Mr. Blatter's smear campaign is clearly the most powerful endorsement for my candidacy, and the best proof that I am the person to lead FIFA's reforms."
Thursday's punishments come two weeks after Swiss officials announced they had begun criminal proceedings against Blatter.
FIFA says it won't provide details about the decisions "until they become final," which is so FIFA.
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