FIFA moved to suspend three of the most powerful men in football today (Oct. 8). Longstanding president Sepp Blatter, vice president and UEFA chief Michel Platini and FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke are all barred from the sport for the next 90 days.
The ethics committee of world football’s governing body passed the provisional ban, amid suspicion of corruption by Blatter. The 79-year-old is currently under criminal investigation by the Swiss attorney general for shady dealings that allegedly opposed the sport’s best interests. FIFA’s disciplinary arm is also looking into the matter.
“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee,” said FIFA in a statement announcing the ban. Some of FIFA’s biggest sponsors including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, AB InBev and Visa had already called for Blatter to step down.
The suspension barring Blatter, Platini and Valcke from participating in national and international football activities could also be extended for an additional 45 days—if so, Blatter will not return to football until Feb. 21, 2016, five days before his term ends.
He had previously announced that he would depart his post on Feb. 26, 2016, refusing to adhere to demands that he leave the sport sooner.
It is unclear who will take the reins of one of the world’s largest sports in the absence of its top leaders. Platini, who heads up football’s European governing body, was one of the prime candidates to take over Blatter’s role next year.