Eight-year bans for Blatter and Platini
Fifa's Ethics Committee banned the organisation's president Sepp Blatter and Uefa boss Michel Platini from football-related activities on Monday over a payment Platini received from Blatter in 2011. Some commentators believe that with Platini's fall football is losing a role model and an acceptable potential Fifa boss. Others see the decision as a chance for the global football association to move on.
Too bad about Platini
It's too bad that Platini, who was widely seen as a promising candidate to succeed Fifa president Blatter, must also leave the field, the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes laments: "Platini pushed through quite a few things while heading Uefa. In the Champions League, for example, representatives of smaller countries also stood better chances under his leadership. As with Blatter, Fifa's Ethics Commission sentenced him to an eight year ban. In Platini's case that comes as a shock. Although not an ideal candidate to head Fifa, he had certainly fulfilled the basic requirements until now. He is respected both as a football player and as a person. He would have been acceptable to more or less everyone concerned. The list of remaining candidates leaves us with little cause for joy."
The end of the Platini myth
The conservative daily Corriere della Sera is shocked by the Fifa Ethics Commission's decision to suspend Platini: "Is this a mix-up or at least a case of split personality in a man who seemed to be a role model? … We cling to the hope of forever being entranced by his bravery, his irony, his elegance, his class, his technique, his personality, the magic of his incomparable football talent. … Instead we see a Platini sanctioned by Fifa, implicated in a dirty story about money and degenerate sport. A slightly plumper Platini, but still wonderfully similar to the man who wore [Juventus Turin's] number 10 shirt. If this Platini tarnishes the myth, he destroys an idea, a figure, a role model, and will he now remain cast down from his pedestal forever?"
Fifa a shark pool
Blatter and not Platini is the main culprit, the daily La Libre Belgique writes: "The ban on Sepp Blatter is just another episode in the process of Fifa's gradual collapse which started a few months ago with the accusations against several of its functionaries. It won't fundamentally change the organisation's future. However the old football dinosaur has managed to drag down Platini along with him, whom he holds partially responsible for his own demise. ... Platini, whose ambition knew no bounds and who was practically unstoppable, is now in a desperate situation. And it is made even worse by the fact that his second-in-command at Uefa, [general secretary] Gianni Infantino, does exactly as he pleases. Fifa is a shark pool. At the end of the game you count the bodies."
Still hope for football
The ban against Blatter and Platini could be an opportunity for change at Fifa, writes sport journalist Krzysztof Matlak in his blog with the centre-left news magazine Polityka: "With this move the Commission has no doubt got rid of these two men who seemed virtually unassailable. An eight-year suspension is almost a life sentence even for a whippersnapper like 60-year-old Platini. And for the almost 80-year-old Blatter it definitely means he will pay for the rest of his life. … Now the big question is: What comes next? I am a cautious optimist. On the one hand the organisation is bound by earlier decisions, for example regarding the hosting of future world championships. And moreover I doubt that the new president to be elected in February will be competent enough to drain the swamp of corruption in Zurich. But at least he should try."