Fifa president Sepp Blatter has appealed the 90-day suspension handed out by the world game’s governing body.
Blatter, as well as presidential candidate Michel Platini and general secretary Jerome Valcke, was handed the punishment on Thursday following approval by Fifa’s adjudicatory chamber of a recommendation made by the organisation’s Ethics Committee. All three deny any wrongdoing.
The sanctions can be extended by up to 45 days, which would effectively end the outgoing Blatter’s reign over world football – with the FIFA congress where a replacement will be chosen scheduled for February 26 next year.
Platini, who is also the head of Uefa, swiftly indicated his intention to appeal and Blatter has now followed suit.
Klaus Stohlker, Blatter’s friend and adviser, told the BBC: “He has appealed already to Fifa’s appeal committee. He is defending his position and he is sure that he will be found not guilty.”
The investigation into Blatter’s conduct relates to allegations that he signed an “unfavourable” contract with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in 2005, one that market experts claim handed over World Cup television rights for a fraction of their market value.
He is also accused of making a “disloyal payment” in 2011 to Platini, whose bid to replace Blatter as Fifa president appears all but over.