FIFA boss Sepp Blatter banned for eight years

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

The President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, has been suspended for eight years following an ethics investigation.

He was suspended alongside Michel Platini, the boss of Uefa, after the two were found guilty of breaches amid investigations into a £1.3 million “disloyal payment”, which was made to Platini in 2011.

According to the FIFA ethics committee, Blatter and Platini showed an “abusive execution” of their roles at the organisations.

Having been immediately banned, Blatter and Platini were fined £33,700 and £54,000 respectively.

They deny any wrongdoing, and while Blatter plans to appeal the ban, Platini is also expected to do the same.

Blatter earlier this year revealed the details of a “discussion” that took place in 2010 about future World Cups, admitting that Russia was awarded the honour before a decision was made.

In 2010, Blatter dismissed concerns that Qatar is homophobic, despite laws punishing gay sex with up to five years in prison.

When asked about gay football fans visiting Qatar, he said: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”

He later apologised.

The country, notorious for its anti-gay laws,  was last year cleared to host the 2022 World Cup by football’s governing body.

An ethics committee investigation by FIFA into the bidding process effectively confirmed Qatar and Russia as 2022 and 2018 hosts respectively, stating any rule breaches by the bidding countries were “of very limited scope”.

Qatar faced a number of corruption claims surrounding its bid, but the Gulf state is now in the clear.

Out gay former Leeds Utd footballer Robbie Rogers inJanuary spoke out about upcoming World Cups in Qatar and Russia, saying it is “insane” that they are being held there, given their poor records on LGBT rights.

LGBT rights groups in 2010 said they were “deeply concerned” by FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

FIFA in 2013 announced its intention to put pressure on Qatar to relax its anti-gay legislation ahead of hosting the 2022 event.

The head of the women’s England football team Casey Stoney said she would not attend Qatarbecause gay people are not welcome there.