FIFA president Sepp Blatter to appeal suspension

Story highlights

Sepp Blatter to appeal FIFA ban

His lawyer tells CNN he is "very hopeful"

Hopes to run FIFA until February election

FIFA to hold extraordinary meeting on Oct 20

CNN  — 

He’s been provisionally banned from office and is facing a criminal investigation by Swiss authorities, but it appears FIFA’s embattled president president Sepp Blatter won’t go down without a fight.

Blatter’s American lawyer Richard Cullen confirmed to CNN via email Friday that the 79-year-old Swiss will appeal the 90-day ban handed down by FIFA’s ethics committee and is “very hopeful” that the suspension will be overturned.

Later Friday, Cullen and Blatter’s Switzerland-based lawyer Lorenz Erni released a joint statement confirming they have requested an appeal hearing.

“We have requested additional proceedings before the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee and filed an appeal with the Appeal Committee,” it said.

Blatter Rise & Fall THOMAS PKG_00023413.jpg
The rise and fall of FIFA's Sepp Blatter
02:34 - Source: CNN

Cullen didn’t expand when asked the reasons behind the appeal.

However, the New York Times reported obtaining a copy of Blatter’s appeal documents, which the paper said demanded an opportunity to see the case file that the ethics committee reviewed during its proceedings and a full hearing to argue the merits of the case.

Blatter was provisionally suspended from FIFA for 90 days on Thursday alongside UEFA president Michel Platini, who heads up the body which runs European football, and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

The suspension relates to an ongoing investigation by Swiss authorities believed to center on a 2005 TV rights deal between FIFA and Jack Warner, the former president of CONCACAF, the governing body of football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as an alleged “disloyal payment” to Platini.

Shortly after the ban was announced on Thursday, Blatter’s lawyers issued a statement which said that the ethics committee had “based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president.”

Blatter reportedly told German magazine Bunte earlier in the week that the Swiss criminal investigation against him was “not correct,” while his lawyer’s statement said Blatter looked forward to presenting “evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise.”

Platini, who enjoyed a successful career as a player for Juventus and France, is hoping to replace Blatter as the head of FIFA at February’s elections.

He has also vowed to appeal the the ethics committee’s decision. The Frenchman described the allegations against him as “based on mere semblances” and “astonishingly vague.”

In the absence of its most senior figures, FIFA is being temporarily headed by Issa Hayatou. The Cameroonian is a FIFA vice-president and head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the body that runs soccer on that continent.

A longtime soccer administrator, the 69-year-old, who has been CAF’s head since 1988, has faced his own problems in the past.

In 2011, he was sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee over taking cash payments from a sports marketing firm.

Tthe European Club Association urged Friday that its members be given the chance to help reform FIFA.

“Football clubs are central stakeholders in the professional game and the future governance of the game must include their active engagement and leadership if it is to be effective and stable. The clubs have to be part of the solution,” it said in a statement.

“ECA calls on everybody who loves football to open the doors to real reform and transparency, allowing the game to move forward.”

Meanwhile FIFA said in a statement Friday that its Executive Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting in Zurich on October 20.

Read: FIFA’s top bosses suspended

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CNN’s Aleks Klosok, John Sinnott and Gary Morley contributed to this report.