FIFA ethics committee says Blatter not exempt from rules

FIFA’s ethics watchdog has rejected suspended President Sepp Blatter claim that he is not subject to its rules and that only Congress can bar him from his role as head of the scandal-plagued global soccer body.

Blatter has been suspended for 90 days along with European soccer boss Michel Platini, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as the sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee is investigating their conduct and they could face a much longer suspensions when the final verdict in the case is announced, probably in December.

In a Swiss television interview Wednesday, Blatter compared himself to a head-of-state who could only be removed by parliament. He said that it was up to FIFA’s Congress, consisting of the 209 national football associations who each hold one vote, to oust him.

However, Andreas Bantel, spokesman for the Ethics Committee. “The FIFA code of ethics applies to anyone who is involved in football worldwide and there are absolutely no exceptions whatsoever.”

The FIFA corruption scandal broke in May with a police raid and arrests of soccer officials at a Zurich hotel just before a congress of the body. Some 14 officials, including two former vice presidents, have been indicted in the United States.

Blatter also faces a criminal investigation in Switzerland over a $1.95 million payment from FIFA to Platini in 2011 for work completed by the Frenchman nine years earlier.

FIFA donates 48 luxury watches

FIFA ethics committee has donated 48 luxury watches it recovered from soccer officials to a non-profit organization.

During a FIFA congress organized on the eve of last year’s World Cup in Brazil, the Brazilian confederation (CBF) distributed gift bags with the watches to football officials including members of FIFA’s executive committee.

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The CBF initially said the Parmigiani watches were given to a group of 65 officials but the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee said it found evidence that several of them did not receive the watch.

After ruling they were unauthorized gifts, the investigatory chamber of the committee decided against opening disciplinary proceedings against the officials who had received the watch on the condition that they returned it.

FIFA earlier said that the Brazilians obtained the watches from sponsor Parmigiani for $8,750 each. But an appraisal found that the watches had a market value of $26,600.

The watches will be given to an organization named street football world.

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