Soccer's world governing body has provisionally suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini for 90 days. FIFA also suspended a critic of Blatter for six years.
A statement posted on FIFA's official website on Thursday said the world governing body had banned Blatter, Platini and FIFA's secretary general for the next three months.
"The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Hans Joachim Eckert has provisionally banned FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini, and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke (who has already been put on leave by his employer FIFA) for a duration of 90 days," the statement said.
It noted that the bans on the three officials could be extended for a further period of up to 45 days, adding that Issa Hayatou of Cameroon willserve as FIFA's acting president.
"During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately," the statement added.
The Ethics Committee's decision to ban Blatter comes after Swiss authorities announced that they had launched a criminal investigation into some of his alleged dealings.
Blatter is being investigated over a contract signed with the Caribbean Footbal Union over television rights which was allegedly "unfavourable for FIFA." He is also suspected of having made a "disloyal payment" to UEFA President Michel Platini which was "at the expense of FIFA."
Blatter "disappointed" over ban
Shortly after the announcement, Blatter's lawyers, Lorenz Erni and Richard Cullen, responded with a statement in which they said he was "disappointed" that the Ethics Committee had not given him the opportunity to present his case.
The Committee "based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the Attorney General in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the President," the statement said.
The lawyers added that Blatter "looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise."
Platini has also denied any wrongdoing.Blatter was elected for a fifth term as FIFA president back in May
despite a US corruption investigation. A few days later, the 79-year-old Swiss national announced that he would step down when an early election to choose his successor was held. The date for that vote has since been set for Feburary 26.
Blatter retained the presidency after Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein pulled out of the run-off vote
Despite the mounting pressure on him to relinquish his post before that, including calls fromFIFA's major sponsors
as recently as this week, Blatter had vowed to stay the course.
"I will fight until February 26. For me. And for FIFA," he told the German magazine "Bunte."
Six-year ban for former FIFA vice president
The statement released by the Ethics Committee announced that it had bannedChung Mong-joon, a South Korean former FIFA vice president
for a period of six years as a result of an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
"He has been found guilty of infringing article 13 (General rules of conduct), article 16 (Confidentiality), article 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), article 41 (Obligation of the parties to collaborate) and article 42 (General obligation to collaborate) of the FIFA Code of Ethics," the statement said.
Chung, who has also denied any wrongdoing, announced earlier this week that he expected a ban to be imposed on him.
He and Platini are two of the candidates hoping to succeed Blatter as president next February. The other is Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, who unsuccessfully ran against Blatter last May.