FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his possible successor, European soccer chief UEFA Michel Platini, have been provisionally suspended for 90 days, the ethics committee of football’s global governing body said on Thursday.
“During this time, the above individuals are banned from all football activities on a national and international level,” FIFA’s ethics committee said in a statement on Thursday.
It also handed out a 90-day suspension to FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, who had already been sent on leave, and banned former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon for six years and fined him 100,000 Swiss francs ($103,000).
The moves against the most powerful men in world soccer dramatically deepened the turmoil at FIFA as it faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States into corruption at the highest levels of the game.
“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,” the committee said.
Swiss prosecutors last month opened a criminal investigation into Blatter over a Caribbean World Cup TV rights contract he signed, and a 2011 payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.07m) to Platini.
The Swiss attorney general has described the position of Platini, a former French midfield star, as being between that of a witness and an accused person.
Blatter has been president of FIFA since 1998 and has worked for the organisation for 40 years, starting as a technical director before becoming secretary general under former president Joao Havelange in 1981.
The 79-year-old Swiss told a German magazine this week that the Swiss criminal investigation against him was “not correct”.
Earlier on Thursday, Platini said he would fight any decision against him, and slammed world soccer’s governing body.
Valcke, Blatter’s right-hand man for the past eight years, was suspended last month after allegations he was involved in a scheme to sell 2014 World Cup tickets at a marked-up price. Valcke denied the charges.