As indicated over the weekend, the FIFA ethics committee is closing in on the final stages of the cases against suspended president Sepp Blatter and UEFA head Michel Platini.
Both men deny wrongdoing after being each suspended for 90 days last month pending investigations into allegations of misconduct in office.
Now a statement from ethics chamber, chaired by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, has confirmed the opening of formal adjudicatory proceedings against Blatter and Platini. This action has been based on the final reports submitted by the investigatory chamber which contained “requests for sanctions.”
This could mean bans from football for between five and seven years hence it is expected they will take up the right to appear in person before the tribunal to state their cases.
The statement continued: “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 and they may request a hearing.”
A final decision by Eckert is expected next month with both Blatter and Platini already challenging their provisional suspensions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Bans would prevent Blatter presiding over the election next February 26 of his FIFA successor and dash Platini’s hopes of re-entering the campaign race.
Eckert ordered the provisional 90-day suspensions last month when Blatter was referred to the ethics committee after being placed under criminal investigation by the Swiss authorities over two issues.
The first concerned an under-valued sale of World Cup broadcasting rights in 2006 to Jack Warner, the then head of CONCACAF (the central and north American confederation), and the second a ‘disloyal payment’ to Platini of SFr2m in February 2011.
Platini was placed under a FIFA investigation for having accepted the ‘disloyal payment.’
Blatter and Platini have both claimed that the payment was to fulfil the terms of a verbal contract concerning work undertaken by the latter for FIFA between 1999 and 2002.