Blatter defiant over FIFA ban: ‘Suspended eight years for what?’

Updated 5:23 AM EST, Tue December 22, 2015

Story highlights

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini banned from football for 8 years

FIFA Ethics Committee announced decision Monday

Defiant Blatter says he will fight ban, claims he is a "punching ball"

UEFA announces support for Platini

(CNN) —  

Sepp Blatter came out fighting Monday after FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned the Swiss and Michel Platini from all football-related activities for eight years.

Football’s world governing body’s Ethics Committee ruled that both FIFA president Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Platini had broken FIFA Code of Ethics relating to conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and gifts. The pair were cleared of bribery and corruption allegations.

Blatter said he was being treated like a “punching ball” and maintained he was still the FIFA President and “a man of principles.”

“I’m really sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I am still somewhere a punching ball,” the 79-year-old said at a press conference at FIFA’s former headquarters at Sonnenberg, Zurich.

“I’m sorry for me for, how I’m tainted in this world of humanitarian qualities,” Blatter added.

MORE: FIFA under fire

“Even suspended I am the President. I am not ashamed. I [do] not regret …

“I will always repeat that. I am a man of principles. These principles are never taking money you have never earned and pay your debts.”

Blatter also claimed FIFA’s Ethics Committee has no right to go against him and said he would be appealing the ban.

“We will go once again to the Appeal Committee,” he said. “I’m a Swiss citizen. In the Swiss law you wouldn’t be suspended for eight years – you will have had to commit something very, very important.”

“I am fighting not for me, but as the elected President of FIFA … and they have cut me off,” Blatter added. “We have to defend ourselves, I hope Platini feels the same.”

Platini announced later in the day that he too would be appealing the ban, while UEFA (European football’s governing body) also issued a statement backing its President.

“This decision does not surprise me. The procedure committed by FIFA’s Ethics Committee against me is a real masquerade,” read a statement issued by Platini.

“FIFA’s Ethics Committee is designed to smear my name and which today I deny its very legitimacy and credibility.

“I am convinced that my fate was sealed before the hearing of December 18 and that this verdict is just a pathetic cover-up for a desire to eliminate me from the world of football.

“Parallel to going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, I am determined to apply to, at the right time, civil courts to obtain damages for all the prejudice I have suffered over very long weeks. I will keep fighting until the end of this process.

MORE: ‘I’ll be back,’ says Blatter

“On the football field and in the exercise of my mandates, my behaviour has always been irreproachable and I am, for my part, at peace with my conscience.”

UEFA added in a separate statement: “UEFA has taken note of the decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee to suspend Michel Platini for eight years from all football-related activities.

“Naturally, UEFA is extremely disappointed with this decision, which nevertheless is subject to appeal.

“Once again, UEFA supports Michel Platini’s right to a due process and the opportunity to clear his name.”

FIFA, when contacted by CNN, said it “acknowledges the decisions of the independent Ethics Committee and has no further comment.”

Ethics Committee announces ban

FIFA’s Ethics Committee announced Monday that both Blatter and Platini would be suspended via an official statement.

“The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Mr Hans‑Joachim Eckert has banned Mr Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA, for eight years and Mr Michel Platini, Vice-President and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and President of UEFA, for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level,” the FIFA statement read.

“The bans come into force immediately.”

The pair had disciplinary hearings before FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert in Zurich Thursday and Friday over a $2 million payment made to Platini in 2011 by world football’s governing body and signed off by Blatter.

Both men denied any wrongdoing.

Blatter and Platini, who faced charges including corruption, conflict of interest and non-cooperation, had said the payment was honoring an agreement made for work carried out between 1999 and 2002, when Platini worked as a technical adviser for the FIFA president.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 02: A FIFA logo sits on a sign at the FIFA headquarters on June 2, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. Joseph S. Blatter resigned as president of FIFA. The 79-year-old Swiss official, FIFA president for 17 years said a special congress would be called to elect a successor. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 02: A FIFA logo sits on a sign at the FIFA headquarters on June 2, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. Joseph S. Blatter resigned as president of FIFA. The 79-year-old Swiss official, FIFA president for 17 years said a special congress would be called to elect a successor. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
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