MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The FIFA Ethics Committee adjudicatory chamber imposed an eight-year ban from all football-related activities on Blatter and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) chief Michel Platini, less than a month after launching formal proceedings against them. FIFA's Ethics Committee chair, Hans-Joachim Eckert, initially sought a lifetime ban and sanctions against both officials on November 24.
"It was an idea that we shall go in the World Cup 2022 to another powerhouse. If we go to Eastern Europe [Russia in 2018], we should go to the USA," Blatter said at a press conference. "Can you imagine, if this would have worked out, we wouldn’t be here today?"
Qatar outbid the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia for the World Cup 2022 hosting rights in four voting rounds in December 2010. Russia was awarded World Cup 2018 the same day in two rounds of voting.
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General launched a probe into a 2011 $2-million "disloyal payment" to Platini in September. The investigation and ensuing suspensions relate to 1999-2002 work Platini allegedly performed for Blatter based on a handshake deal.
Blatter underscored at the conference that the committee had dropped "corruption" charges from the investigation.
FIFA has been plagued by a corruption scandal this year. Several of its officials were arrested in Switzerland on a US warrant on federal charges of fraud, racketeering and laundering in May.