Lawyers for suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter issued a defiant statement after his appearance before the world football federation’s ethics committee.

An announcement is expected early Monday morning about a verdict on culpability from German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert with his three assessors and possible sentence.

Blatter, 79-year-old who has worked at FIFA for 40 years and since 1998 as president, risks a suspension ranging between five years and life if judged to have committed misconduct in office, notably over a ‘disloyal payment’ of SFr2m to UEFA’s French president Michel Platini.

Blatter’s lawyers said he had been vehement in insisting on his innocence, adding: “President Blatter looks forward to a decision in his favour because the evidence requires it. The evidence demonstrates that president Blatter behaved properly and certainly did not violate FIFA’s code of ethics.

“This investigation should be closed and the suspension lifted.”

Blatter hopes to be cleared so as to preside over the congress which will elect his successor on February 26.

Platini has decided not to attend his own ethics chamber hearing today/Friday out of a belief that a guilty result has been pre-determined.

Both Blatter and Platini are expected to pursue complaints, if found culpable, to the FIFA appeal committee and then the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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