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FIFA rejects Blatter and Platini ban appeals

A criminal investigation for corruption involving Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini continues. FIFA and its federations have been under scrutiny for illegal activities.

Suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter and European football head Michel Platini have lost their appeals against provisional 90-day suspensions by the global football body's ethics committee, FIFA said on Wednesday.

The committee said it had "rejected in full" the appeals made by Blatter and Platini. Both are currently engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as their sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.

Blatter, who has been FIFA's president since 1998 and Platini, UEFA's president since 2007, were suspended on October 7 after Swiss prosecutors launched a "criminal mismanagement" inquiry against Blatter, who made a two million dollar payment to Platini in 2011 for work carried out a decade earlier.

Presidential chances slipping away

The suspension has been a severe blow to Platini's hopes of winning a FIFA presidential election in February. The Frenchman was a favorite to replace the Swiss Blatter after he announced his plans to stand down in June.

Schweiz Sepp Blatter wird bei Pressekonferenz mit Geldscheinen beworfen

FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts to banknotes thrown at him by a comedian.

The sanction, banning him from all football-related activity, means that he is unable to campaign in the FIFA presidential race against the five confirmed candidates, who have already passed the required integrity tests.

Both Blatter and Platini have the possibility of challenging the decision before the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a final ruling. Platini will take his case to the CAS as it is his only remaining hope for being a candidate in the election.

If he won that appeal, the electoral committee has said it would review his case but, even then, there is still no guarantee that he would be able to stand in the election.

Richard Cullen, Blatter's attorney issued a statement saying that FIFA's President was "disappointed" by the ruling, and called the lost time in publishing the ruling "inexplicable."

Buffeted by a series of scandals over the last few years, FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May by the U.S. indictments of 14 football officials, including two FIFA vice-presidents and sports marketing executives, for alleged corruption.

hf/jil (Reuters, AFP)

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