Sepp Blatter is ready to take “all legal steps” to clear his name after he was banned from football for eight years by a FIFA court over ethics violations, his lawyers said on Tuesday.
“President Blatter is eager to present his arguments to the appeal committee,” his Zurich-based lawyer Lorenz Erni and Virginia-based counsel Richard Cullen said in a joint statement.
After FIFA announced his suspension on Monday, Blatter held a defiant press conference in which he said he would first challenge the suspension at a FIFA appeals committee before going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), if necessary.
“President Blatter is prepared to take all legal steps to prevail on the remaining charges and clear his name,” his lawyers said.
Blatter was provisionally suspended in October after he became the target of a criminal investigation by Swiss prosecutors over a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million/1.8 million euros) payment he authorised to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011.Blatter and Platini were found guilty of a conflict of interest over that payment by FIFA judges.
Blatter has not hidden his desire to secure reinstatement in time for a FIFA congress on February 26, when his replacement will be elected.
But despite his impending appeals, Blatter’s chances of ever returning to FIFA may have suffered a fatal blow with Monday’s verdict.