It might feel like the goings-on at the world soccer body are just not that interesting anymore - as long as the game goes on. But the "game" at the governing level is kind-of getting more interesting with an announce 90-day ban from involvement of the folks who have been the volunteer leadership. Is this a board taking care of its own issues? And is a 90 day ban more like a slap with a wet noodle? No and yes!
If you were a board member would not a life-long ban represent a more just punishment for what these fellows have done against the organization, the sport and the board? Wet noodle indeed!
Here's the Wall Street Journal update of what's going on.
FIFA’s Sepp Blatter Handed Provisional 90-Day Ban
UEFA President Michel Platini, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke also receive bans
Three of the most powerful men in world soccer, including embattled FIFA PresidentSepp Blatter, on Thursday received provisional bans of 90 days from the sport’s governing body, pending the outcome of a Swiss criminal investigation.
Michel Platini, the head of European soccer’s governing body and the man who was considered Mr. Blatter’s likely successor, was also suspended from all soccer-related activities, as was FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, who was already placed on leave following allegations of a ticket-selling scheme.
Mr. Blatter is currently under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities for what they called a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.05 million) to Mr. Platini in 2011. The Swiss attorney general’s office is also looking into a 2005 sale of television rights that it said was detrimental to FIFA.
Mr. Blatter has denied all wrongdoing.
FIFA’s Ethics Committee said in a statement that the bans could be extended for a further 45 days.
A fourth soccer official, Chung Mong-Joon of South Korea, separately received a six-year ban from all soccer-related activities and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs, based on an investigation of the bidding process to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Mr. Chung, a former president of the South Korean soccer federation, was running for the FIFA presidency, with the election scheduled for Feb. 26, 2016.
He has denied wrongdoing and accused the committee of carrying out Mr. Blatter’s bidding. The committee declined to provide further comment.
During the ban, the presidency of FIFA passes to the senior member of the Executive Committee, Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.
When news first leaked out on Wednesday that one arm of the committee had proposed a ban, Mr. Blatter’s personal lawyer, U.S.-based attorney Richard Cullen, denied that he had been notified of any suspension.
“We would expect that the Ethics Committee would want to hear from the president and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The bans radically alter the landscape as FIFA prepares to elect Mr. Blatter’s successor. The deadline for candidates to throw their hats in the ring is Oct. 26, but those serving suspensions will be ineligible to run. Mr. Platini was widely considered the front-runner after securing support from at least four of the major continental associations. Mr. Chung was also running a vocal campaign.
The thin field of would-be candidates now includes only Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, who lost to Mr. Blatter in the election in May, the former Brazilian playing great Zico, and Musa Bility of Liberia, who failed to earn the support of the African confederation. They need to secure five nominations from FIFA member associations by the deadline and pass a FIFA integrity check.
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