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JUST IN: Blatter appears in court over ban


Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Thursday appeared before the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS), sports highest tribunal, to appeal against his six-year ban from football.

The 80-year-old, who headed FIFA for 17 years until he resigned in June last year, was banned from all soccer-related activity last December alongside former European football boss, Michel Platini.

Blatter who arrived in court premises in Lausanne, Switzerland, told reporters that he would not want to lose his appeal at CAS but that he would accept its verdict, whether against or in his favour.

“In football, we learn to win, this is easy, but we also learn to lose, but this is not good; I wouldn’t want to lose.”

“My name wouldn’t be Sepp Blatter if I didn’t have faith, if I wasn’t optimistic”.

The bans were imposed for ethics violations related to a payment of two million Swiss francs that FIFA made to Platini with Blatter’s approval in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.

“I’m sure at the end that the panel will understand that the payment made to Platini was really a debt that we owed him and this is a principle, if you have debts, you pay them,” Blatter said.

Platini also appeared for the closed-door hearing.

“I come, for the umpteenth time, to tell the truth,” he said.

Both men, who have denied wrongdoing, were initially banned for eight years, later reduced to six by FIFA’s own appeals committee.

Platini has already taken his case to CAS,but it was rejected in spite the ban been reduced to four years.

CAS have not said when its final decision on Blatter’s appeal will be announced.

Blatter resigned in the midst of a FIFA corruption crisis only four days into his fifth term.

Several dozen football officials, including former FIFA executive committee members, and entities were indicted in the United States on corruption-related charges last year.

Switzerland, for its part, opened a criminal investigation into the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively


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