(Reuters) – The Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been handed a further six years and eight months ban from the game and fined $1 million Swiss francs by the body’s Ethics Committee after accepting a bribe.
Blatter’s new ban for ethics code violation will take effect from the point of his current ban, which was due to expire in October.
The latest investigation looked into World Cup bonus payments made to Blatter and a number of former top FIFA officials including former general secretary Jerome Valcke, former vice president Julio Grondona, and ex-finance director Markus Kattner.
The ethics committee said in a statement that Blatter had breached the ethics code “by accepting and receiving extraordinary bonuses in the amount of CHF $23 million, signed, approved or implemented by Messrs Grondona, Valcke, and Kattner, and by concomitantly approving/offering extraordinary bonuses in the total of approximately CHF $46 million for Messrs Valcke, Grondona, and Kattner.”
The payments related primarily to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, the trio denied any wrongdoing.
“This is a painful and incomprehensible blow on the neck,” said Blatter in comments released by his spokesperson. “The ethics committee in its current form has nothing to do with an independent body – it is much more the extended arm of FIFA president and not much more than a ‘parallel-justice’.”
Blatter was FIFA president from 1998 to 2015 when a series of FIFA officials were arrested in a US-led corruption probe. He was banned for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee in December 2015 but was later reduced to six years.
Valcke, who is currently banned until October 2023 was also handed an identical ban extension and fine.
In June, FIFA banned Kattner from the game for 10 years.
Former Argentine FA president Grondona died in 2014.
“The investigations into Messrs Blatter and Valcke covered various charges, in particular concerning bonus payments in relation to FIFA competitions that were paid to top FIFA management officials, various amendments and extensions of employment contracts, as well as reimbursement by FIFA of private legal costs in the case of Mr Valcke,” the Ethics Committee said in the statement.
The decisions can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland.