Sepp Blatter has filed an appeal against his provisional 90-day suspension by FIFA's ethics committee. Initially, an associate of the FIFA president had appeared to indicate that he would take no legal action.
Germany's DPA news agency and the New York Times both quoted Sepp Blatter's US-based lawyer, Rhichard Cullen, early on Friday, who said that the FIFA president's legal team had filed a challenge with the appeal committee of international soccer's governing body.
The New York Times said it had obtained a copy of the appeal, in which the 79-year-old Blatter complained of brusque and unfair treatment and his legal team demanded access to the FIFA Ethics Committee case file. They also demanded that they and their client be given a hearing so that they could argue their case in full.
The news came just hours after a close associate of Blatter, Klaus Stöhlker, seemed to indicate that the FIFA boss would take no action against his 90-day provisional suspension, saying this would make "no sense."
On Thursday, FIFA announced that its Ethics Committee had imposed the ban on Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke (who had earlier been placed on leave by the world governing body).
The Ethics Committee's decision came a fortnight after Swiss authorities announced that they had launched a criminal investigation into some of Blatter's alleged dealings, including a contract signed with the Caribbean Football Union over television rights which was allegedly "unfavourable for FIFA." Blatter is also suspected of having made a "disloyal payment" to Platini which was "at the expense of FIFA."
Both Blatter and Platini have repeatedly rejected accusations of wrongdoing.
Earlier on Thursday, the UEFA president announced his intention to appeal against the temporary FIFA ban.
"I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague," said Michel Platini in a statement released on Thursday evening.
"I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice, or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies," the statement said.
Platini is one of three candidates to succeed Blatter when a new president is chosen at an extraordinary FIFA congress on February 26. Until Thursday's events, he had been seen as the clear favorite.
pfd/msh (dpa, Reuters)