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FIFA's Ethics Committee opens proceedings against Blatter, Platini

FIFA has opened proceedings against its suspended president, Sepp Blatter, and UEFA President Michel Platini. Meanwhile, Blatter has claimed he was close to death during a recent hospital stay.

In a statement posted on its website on Monday, FIFA announced that the "adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee" had "opened formal adjudicatory proceedings against Joseph S. Blatter and Michel Platini based on the final reports submitted by the investigatory chamber."

The statement said the adjudicatory chamber intended to hand down a decision in both cases by next month, but it did not make public the details of the sanctions requested by the investigatory chamber.

This comes two days after

the investigatory chamber announced that it had completed its investigation

and sent a report containing its findings and recommended sanctions to the adjudicatory chamber, headed by German Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert.

Last month, the Ethics Committee handed both Blatter and Platini 90-day provisional bans from all football-related activities over corruption allegations.

The two men are the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation into a payment of two million Swiss francs (1.84 million euros, $1.97 million) made by Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both have denied any wrongdoing and said the payment was for work Platini has done around a decade earlier.

The provisional ban against Platini has prevented him from registering to become a candidate to succeed Blatter, when he steps down at a special FIFA congress on February 26.

Last week,

Platini lodged an appeal against his ban to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),

as he seeks to keep alive his bid to become a candidate. This came after both he and Blatter were unsuccessful in their

bids to get FIFA's Appeal Commitee to lift their suspensions.

'The angels sang'

Meanwhile, Blatter has used an interview with Swiss broadcaster RTS to reiterate his claim of innocence in the matter. He also had words of praise for Platini, his former protégé, with whom he fell out some years ago. Blatter described the Frenchman as "an honest man" and said "he will be elected" if allowed to stand for the job.

Blatter also said he had been "very close to death" when he was hospitalized earlier this month for health issues related to stress.

"I was between the angels singing and the devil lighting the fire. But it was the angels who sang," Blatter said.

pfd/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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