FIFA have suspended President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, plunging world football’s governing body deeper into crisis.
Platini, who had been favourite to take the FIFA helm, and Blatter were both suspended by the FIFA ethics committee in the wake of a Swiss criminal investigation.
Another presidential hopeful, Chung Mong-joon, was suspended for six years in a separate case and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was banned for 90 days.
Platini’s suspension causes embarrassment for both Scotland and England’s footballing bodies after SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and FA chairman Greg Dyke recently voiced their backing for the Frenchmen as president.
Following the suspensions, the International Olympic Committee has called on FIFA to now consider a “credible external presidential candidate of high integrity” as Blatter’s replacement.
“Enough is enough,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
“We hope that now, finally, everyone at FIFA has at last understood that they cannot continue to remain passive.” Issa Hayatou, the longtime head of the African soccer confederation who was reprimanded in 2011 by the IOC in a FIFA kickbacks scandal, will take over as acting FIFA president.
The interim leader of UEFA will be Spanish federation head Angel Maria Villar.
But he remains at risk of sanction from the FIFA ethics committee in its investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.
Blatter’s suspension brings a halt to a 40-year career that has survived waves of scandals until he was placed under criminal investigation.
Last month, Swiss authorities interrogated him about the alleged misuse of FIFA money by making a £1.35 million payment to Platini, who has been questioned as a witness.
It is understood that each of the suspensions can be extended by up to 45 days.