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Blatter awaiting fate after ethics committee investigation
fifa web
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is photographed while banknotes thrown by British comedian Simon Brodkin hurtle through the air during a press conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. - photo by Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Sepp Blatter could be facing a 90-day suspension.

The FIFA president's future was being determined by the governing body's ethics committee at meetings in Zurich, with Blatter at risk of being suspended after a criminal case was opened against him.

Blatter associate Klaus Stoehlker, who has no role at FIFA, told The Associated Press and other media outlets the ethics committee's adjudicatory chamber recommended a 90-day suspension for the sport's most powerful official.

"Blatter has heard that from several sources," Stoehlker said. "He has not got any message from the committee ... and he is perfectly under control. He is going to the office tomorrow."

Blatter's lawyer, Richard Cullen, said the president "has not been notified of any action taken by the FIFA ethics committee."

"We would expect that the ethics committee would want to hear from the president and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action," Cullen said in a statement.

Abdoulaye Makhtar Diop, a Senegalese member of the executive committee's adjudicatory chamber, said earlier in a statement that cases involving Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini were being discussed in Zurich this week.

Ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert will take the final decision on the fates of Blatter and Platini, who were questioned as part of a Swiss criminal investigation last month. Blatter is a suspect but Platini was questioned as something between a witness and an accused person over a payment he received from FIFA in 2011.

Platini had been considered the favorite to succeed Blatter in the Feb. 26 emergency election prompted by the president's decision in June to quit. That came four days after Blatter was elected to a fifth, four-year term despite FIFA being plunged into crisis after 14 people were indicted in an American investigation into soccer bribery.

Platini's election prospects could be thwarted by receiving the maximum 90-day suspension from FIFA, with an Oct. 26 deadline for candidacies to be submitted and approved.

If Blatter was forced from power before the election, senior vice president Issa Hayatou would become interim FIFA leader. But the longtime Confederation of African Football president from Cameroon has his own checkered past.

Hayatou was reprimanded in 2011 by the International Olympic Committee, of which he is also a member, for receiving $20,000 from a sports marketing company in a FIFA kickbacks scandal. He was also accused by British lawmakers of a promised million-dollar payment from Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid. Both Hayatou and Qatar denied wrongdoing.

Ethics committee spokesman Marc Tenbuecken declined to comment on the cases, despite Diop's statement.

"We are strictly limited in our possibilities to communicate ongoing procedures," Tenbuecken said.