Fifa have confirmed the outcome of appeals from soon-to-be former president Sepp Blatter and suspended Uefa chief Michel Platini, with their respective suspensions upheld but reduced from eight years down to six. The duo were banned from all football activity in December 2015 following an announcement from the adjudicatory chamber of the governing body's ethics committee that centred upon a £1.3m ($1.8m) 'disloyal' payment made to Platini back in 2011 for his services as a technical advisor.
The former French international subsequently withdrew his nomination from the upcoming Fifa presidential election, where Blatter will be formally replaced after almost 18 years at the helm. Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Gianni Infantino, Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale will be the names on the ballot paper during an extraordinary meeting of congress at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, on 26 February.
In a statement to confirm their decision, Fifa's appeal committee said: "The Fifa appeal committee, chaired by Larry Mussenden [Bermuda], has partially confirmed the decisions taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee on 17 and 18 December 2015 regarding Joseph S. Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, whose bans have been reduced from eight to six years.
"Mr Platini's and Mr Blatter's appeals are dismissed in respect of infringements of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 19 (Conflict of interests) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as established by the adjudicatory chamber.
"The Appeal Committee concurred with the findings of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in the sense that the evidence available in the present case is not sufficient to establish a breach of article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (Bribery and corruption). Consequently, the appeal lodged by the investigatory chamber for a life ban from all football-related activity was also dismissed."
The release goes on to outline that "Mr Platini's and Mr Blatter's activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor". They both deny any wrongdoing.