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Russian sports minister calls decisions in regard to Blatter, Platini unfair

February 25, 20:06 UTC+3 ZURICH
FIFA earlier announced that its Appeal Committee ruled to reduce the suspension sentences for earlier banned FIFA and UEFA presidents, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, from 8 to 6 years
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Michel Platini (left) and Sepp Blatter

Michel Platini (left) and Sepp Blatter

© AP Photo/Michael Probst

ZURICH, February 25. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko believes that FIFA Appeal Committee’s Wednesday decision in regard to suspended FIFA and UEFA presidents, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, was unfair.

"It used to be eight years and now it is six," Mutko, who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and the president of the Russian Football Unioon (RFU), told journalists in Thursday.

"I do not understand what they were guided by to make such decision," he said. "In my opinion the decisions in regard to Platini and Blatter are unfair."

FIFA announced on Wednesday that its Appeal Committee ruled to reduce the suspension sentences for earlier banned FIFA and UEFA presidents, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, from eight to six years.

Although the decisions were announced on Wednesday, the hearings into Platini and Blatter’s appeals were held in Zurich on February 15 and 16 correspondingly.

In response to the decision made by the FIFA Appeal Committee, both Blatter and Platini announced that they would file appeals with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

"It is an insulting decision, shameful and a denial of rights," Platini said in his statement commenting on Wednesday’s verdict. "I am the victim of a system which has only one main objective: to prevent me presenting myself for the FIFA presidency in order to protect certain interests that I was about to question."

Blatter was more laconic in his statement than Platini, saying on Wednesday: "I am very disappointed by the appeal committee of FIFA and I will take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne."

In early October, Blatter and Platini were suspended for the period of 90 days from their posts as part of the investigation into corruption allegations against them. Among a number of corruption allegations, Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2 million Swiss francs to UEFA President Platini in February 2011.

The adjudicatory chamber of the independent FIFA Ethics Committee held hearings into corruption charges on December 17 and 18, in regard to Blatter and Platini respectively, and on December 21 they were both suspended for the period of eight years from all football-related activities.

The Ethics Committee also subjected both of the football executives to financial fines, obliging Blatter to pay 50,000 Swiss francs (over $50,300) and Platini - 80,000 Swiss francs (over $80,500).

Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote.

However, addressing a news conference in Zurich on June 2, Blatter said he decided to lay down his mandate at FIFA extraordinary elective Congress. FIFA announced in July that the election of the new president would be held on February 26, 2016.

The five currently running candidates for the post of the FIFA presidency are: South Africa’s ex-Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino, FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne and President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

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