Fifa: Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini & Jerome Valcke suspended

Sepp Blatter has been president of Fifa since 1998
Fifa president Sepp Blatter is stepping down from his role in February

Fifa has provisionally suspended its president Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini for 90 days.

The punishments were handed out by the ethics committee of football's world governing body, which is investigating the three over corruption allegations.

It also banned ex-Fifa vice-president Chung Mong-joon for six years.

Issa Hayatou, who heads Africa's football confederation (Caf), will act as Fifa president during Blatter's ban.

Uefa - European football's governing body - gave Platini its "full confidence" and said it "saw no need" to replace its current president while he is suspended from all football duties.

Platini - and Chung - are still hoping to replace Blatter at the top of Fifa when he steps down as president in February.

Hayatou, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying he will only serve on an interim basis and will not be standing for election.

Blatter, Platini and Valcke are banned from any football activity in the interim. They deny any wrongdoing.

Richard Conway, BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent
"The crisis has extended to the heart of Fifa's leadership. Sepp Blatter, the man who has led Fifa since 1998 and has been at the centre of Fifa politics, is now facing suspension because of the criminal inquiry opened by Swiss authorities two weeks ago.
"Many had put Fifa's future in the hands of Michel Platini and saw him as a figure to lead it out of the crisis. He now has a big problem because he too has been suspended. He has confirmed his application for the presidency - but can he run?
"Many are hoping this is the cathartic moment Fifa needs to go through so it can emerge with its credibility restored - but that looks a long way in the future."

A statement issued by Blatter's lawyers said the president was "disappointed" the ethics committee had not followed its own code in allowing him an opportunity to be heard, and claimed the suspension was based on "a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland".

It added: "President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise."

Former France midfielder Platini described the developments as "farcical", with the allegations against him "astonishingly vague" and "based on mere semblances".

Platini said he was driven by "staunch defiance", more than "a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge", to defend himself.

He said: "I refuse to believe this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the Fifa presidency."

His ban - which can be appealed against, or even extended - means he will not be able to attend the Euro 2016 draw in Paris on 12 December.

Fifa needs to start again - Lineker

Uefa's executive committee will hold an emergency meeting next Thursday and called for a "very rapid final decision" from Fifa, but said it "stands fully behind" Platini.

The Football Association, which last week reiterated its support for Platini's presidency bid, said it would "await the results" of Fifa's inquiry and the Swiss investigation, while chairman Greg Dyke said the organisation would withdraw its support if Platini is found to have "behaved dishonestly".

Chung said he was not surprised by his ban, but described it "as a most blatant miscarriage of justice", adding that Fifa was "in total meltdown" and the investigation against him was "politically motivated" against his presidential campaign.

Britain's Fifa vice-president David Gill has called for an emergency meeting of its executive committee following Thursday's developments.

More on Fifa's corruption crisis
Key questions answeredProfile: Sepp Blatter
Who are the indicted Fifa officials?Profile: Michel Platini

How did we reach this point?

Fifa's ethics committee began its investigation into Blatter after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against the 79-year-old.

He is accused of signing a contract "unfavourable" to Fifa and making a "disloyal payment" to Platini.

The ethics committee also opened an inquiry into Platini over the 2m euros (£1.35m) payment, which was made nine years after the 60-year-old carried out consultation work for Blatter.

Valcke was already on gardening leave from his Fifa post following newspaper allegations last month which implicated the 54-year-old in a scheme to profit from the sale of World Cup tickets.

Valcke's lawyer also said that his client was "confident" he will be fully cleared of the "false allegations" when "all the facts come out".

Mark Palios, former FA chief executive on BBC News
"There are two aspects for Platini. Firstly, the deadline of 26 October to put in your nomination for the Fifa presidential election - I would imagine that causes some difficulties.
"Then there's the extent to which anybody who has been suspended can stand as president of Fifa. Platini's argument would be that nothing has been proven yet.
"It looks like this is the logical and right thing to do by Fifa to suspend individuals while an investigation into them is under way. I would be disappointed if they pushed the election back."

Earlier this year, United States authorities indicted 14 Fifa officials and associates on bribery and racketeering charges. A simultaneous Swiss investigation was started into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Just two days later, on 29 May, Blatter won a fifth consecutive Fifa presidential election. However, on 2 June he announced his decision to step down in the wake of the corruption allegations.

He is due to finish his term at a Fifa extraordinary congress on 26 February.

Platini and South Korean billionaire Chung - who was also fined 100,000 Swiss Francs (£67,000) by the ethics committee - are two of the leading candidates to replace him.

Before the imposition of his provisional ban - which relates to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - Chung claimed Fifa's investigation into him was an attempt to "smear" his campaign.

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