World football chief Sepp Blatter and European boss Michel Platini were suspended on Thursday in a deepening corruption scandal, decapitating the leadership of a sport facing criminal investigations on both sides of the Atlantic.
Blatter, the Swiss who has been president of world governing body FIFA since 1998, was already due to stand down after an election to replace him in February.
Platini, head of European body UEFA, was a frontrunner to replace him. His shrinking election hopes now depend on whether he can overturn the 90-day ban imposed by FIFA’s Ethics Committee.
Despite their denials of wrongdoing, both men have gradually been submerged by the scandal that has engulfed the world’s most popular sport, beginning with dawn raids and a series of arrests at a Swiss luxury hotel in May.
“During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level,” the ethics committee said.
FIFA said in a statement: “Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.”
It said his acting replacement was Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, the head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA’s most senior vice president.
In 2011, Hayatou, 69, was reprimanded by the International Olympics Committee’s ethics commission after he confirmed to them that he was paid by FIFA’s former marketing agency International Sport and Leisure in 1995.
The IOC said such an action constituted a conflict of interest. Hayatou denied any personal gain or wrongdoing.
In a statement on Thursday, the Cameroonian said he would not be a candidate for FIFA president in February and had taken the role on “only on an interim basis”.