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FIFA court opens case against Blatter, Platini

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Lausanne :The judgement arm of FIFA’s ethics committee today opened a case against the body’s suspended president Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, with a verdict in the corruption allegations surrounding both men due next month.

The panel of judges, known as the adjudicatory chamber, received the final report from the ethics committee’s investigative branch on Saturday, which called for sanctions to be levelled against both men.

A guilty verdict would almost certainly crush UEFA president Platini’s hopes of succeeding Blatter at the top of world football’s governing body.

The investigative branch did not disclose the severity of the recommended sanctions, or the evidence collected, but both Blatter and Platini have been implicated in possible criminal conduct in a separate case launched by Swiss prosecutors.

In a statement, the adjudicatory chamber said it had “opened formal adjudicatory proceedings against Joseph S. Blatter and Michel Platini based on the final reports submitted by the investigatory chamber.”

The chamber “intends to come to a decision in both cases during the month of December”, the statement further said.

FIFA’s ethics committee provisionally suspended both men once the two most powerful figures in world football—for 90 days in October.

Those suspensions followed the announcement from Switzerland’s attorney general that a criminal case had been opened against Blatter over financial misconduct during his tenure as FIFA’s president.

Platini has been questioned by Swiss prosecutors over a murky $2 million payment he received from FIFA in 2011, reportedly for work done a decade earlier.

Blatter had already agreed to step down as FIFA’s president following a special election in February, a concession made days after the unprecedented corruption scandal at FIFA kicked off.

A guilty verdict, including further suspension from FIFA, would speed up his departure date.

But for Platini, who had been the favourite to succeed Blatter, a conviction by FIFA’s ethics watchdog could mark a stunning end to the former French star’s career in football governance.

PTI