Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s fate hangs in the balance as the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing into his six-year ban gets under way on Thursday.
Blatter’s 18-year run at the head of world football’s governing body ended acrimoniously last December when he was banned from the sport for eight years, later reduced to six, by the FIFA ethics committee.
The 80-year-old Swiss and the then-UEFA president Michel Platini were originally handed eight-year bans for a £1.35million payment that Blatter made to his close ally in 2011.
Those bans were reduced to six years by a FIFA appeal panel in February, and Platini got a further two years knocked off his ban when he went to CAS in May.
But the CAS panel that heard Platini’s appeal backed the original FIFA decision that the payment, which was supposedly the balance Platini was owed for consultancy work he did between 1999 and 2002, was not legitimate.
Both men have strongly denied any wrongdoing, with Blatter, who has kept a low profile since leaving office, again defending himself on German television earlier in August.
“I am not corrupt. And if someone says it, let him prove it,” he told ZDF.
“I have made many mistakes. But I have done nothing wrong, at least what applies in criminal law.”
Blatter had long courted controversy before being removed from the position of president and has since been replaced by former UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.
He will arrive for his CAS hearing in person after his spokesman confirmed Blatter would attend with his lawyer Lorenz Erni.