Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the two most powerful men in world football, have both been banned for eight years by Fifa’s ethics committee for abusing their positions.
The bans have been imposed by Fifa’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert for a “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs (£1.3m) made to Uefa president Platini in 2011, signed off by outgoing Fifa president Blatter.
Blatter, who made a defiant but rambling appearance at a news conference in Zurich following the announcement, has also been fined Sfr50,000 and Platini Sfr80,000 by the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee after being found guilty of ethics code breaches.
The charges found proven included offering and accepting gifts, conflict of interest, and violating their fiduciary duty to fifa.
Blatter, appearing wearing a plaster on his face following the removal of a mole, vowed to fight the sanctions and claimed: “I’ll be back.”
They both claimed the payment was made following a verbal agreement between the pair when the Frenchman worked for Blatter from 1998 to 2002 though the money was not paid until nine years later.
The explanation was rejected as “not convincing” by the ethics committee, though it did add the evidence had not been sufficient to secure charges of corruption.
A statement from the ethics committee said: “Mr Blatter’s actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as Fifa’s regulatory framework to the extent applicable to him and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as president of Fifa.”
It added: “Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities.”
Blatter’s personal adviser Klaus Stoehlker said he will appeal against the ban and take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
Platini also said he would appeal to take legal action for damages.
He claimed the action against him was “a mockery”.
The former captain of the French international team had aimed to succeed Blatter as Fifa president in February’s election but those hopes have been effectively ended, even if he manages to overturn the ban.