5 December 2016 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between Joseph S. Blatter and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The appeal of Joseph S. Blatter has been dismissed. As a consequence, the decision rendered by the FIFA Appeal Committee (FIFA AC) on 16 February 2016 remains in force and Mr Blatter remains banned from taking part in any football-related activity at national and international level for six years as from 8 October 2015 and must pay a fine of CHF 50,000.
In March 2016, Mr Blatter filed an appeal at the CAS in which he requested that the FIFA AC’s decision be reversed; that he be acquitted of all ethics charges and that his ban be vacated.
The arbitration procedure was conducted by a panel of CAS arbitrators, composed of Mr Manfred Nan, President (Netherlands), Mr Patrick Lafranchi (Switzerland) and Mr Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall (Canada/France). The Panel heard the parties at a hearing which took place at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on 25 August 2016.
The Panel found that the written employment contract established between Mr Platini and FIFA in 1999 voided any oral agreement concluded between Mr Blatter and Mr Platini in 1998 that the latter would be paid CHF 1 million per year for his work at FIFA. Accordingly, by approving a payment of CHF 2 million to Mr Platini in 2011 for the balance of work carried out under the alleged oral agreement, Mr Blatter breached the FIFA Code of Ethics since the payment amounted to an undue gift as it had no contractual basis. The Panel further found that Mr Blatter unlawfully awarded contributions to Mr Platini under the FIFA Executive Committee retirement scheme which also amounted to an undue gift.
Turning to the sanction, the Panel noted that Mr Blatter requested the annulment of the ban but did not request a reduced penalty. In any event, the Panel determined that the sanction imposed was not disproportionate and therefore confirmed the Appealed Decision in full.
The Arbitral Award will be published on the CAS website in due course.