FIFA opens formal proceedings against Blatter, Platini

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FIFA has opened formal proceedings against suspended president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini after a report by the organization's independent Ethics Committee's investigatory chamber.

Blatter and Platini were handed 90-day suspensions by the Ethics Committee in October in relation to an alleged payment made by FIFA to the former France captain in 2011.

The Ethics Committee last week rejected respective appeals against the bans from both men, who deny any wrongdoing, before submitting its final reports Saturday. Blatter and Platini will have formal hearings into the allegations that they breached FIFA's ethics code.

A statement released Monday by FIFA said that the adjudicatory chamber intends to come to a decision in both cases by the end of December.

The statement read: "The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert has today opened formal adjudicatory proceedings against Joseph S. Blatter and Michel Platini based on the final reports submitted by the investigatory chamber.

"The adjudicatory chamber has studied the reports carefully and decided to institute formal proceedings against the two officials. For reasons linked to privacy rights and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the adjudicatory chamber will not publish details of the sanctions requested by the investigatory chamber in its final reports.

"In the course of the proceedings, both parties will be invited to submit positions including any evidence with regard to the final reports of the investigatory chamber (art. 70 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics) and they may request a hearing (art. 74 par. 2 of the FCE). The adjudicatory chamber intends to come to a decision in both cases during the month of December."

In an interview with RTS to be aired on Wednesday, Blatter declared Platini to be an "honest man" and still a strong candidate to replace him in FIFA's top job.

Earlier this year, Blatter confirmed that he would step down as president ahead of elections at FIFA's Extraordinary Congress next February.

The 79-year-old also discussed a recent trip to hospital due to a stress-related illness, claiming he was "very close" to death.


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