Are the Platini and Blatter bans really a fresh start for FIFA?

Philippe Auclair speaks to Off The Ball about the effects of today's ethics committee decision

Are the Platini and Blatter bans really a fresh start for FIFA?

(AP Photo/Michael Probst,file)

In one fell swoop today, the figure who headed world football for so long and the man who intended to succeed him were cast out of the sport.

Eight-year bans for Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini by FIFA's ethics committee mean both will no longer be involved in the high level politics of football unless any appeals are successful and according to football writer Philippe Auclair, football's world governing body had to act even if the duo's transgression falls towards the less serious end of the scale in comparison to other acts of corruption revealed about other FIFA officials during the revelations of the last year.

He told Off The Ball: "In fairness to both of them, the charges against them, compared to what some of the others have got up to - I'm thinking of Chuck Blazer, Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Jeffrey Webb, I'm mean there's so many figures in this gallery of crooks and tarts, you don't know where to start.

Blatter and Platini in 2012 (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)

"It's a fairly substantial payment which was done, shall we say, outside of the regulations of FIFA. Itself, it's enough but compared to what has been happening elsewhere, I wouldn't say it's peanuts but [maybe] cashew nuts. It's not quite as serious as some of the other things but on the other hand, FIFA is not in a situation where they cannot simply stand by and let these things go unopposed and uncondemned. They have to do something because you've got the pressure of the American justice system on one hand, the Swiss justice system on the other and every single media and journalist I can think of also looking very closely at that."

He also described French football Federation president Noel Le Graet's claims that Platini's guilt was "decided in advance" by the ethics committee as "ludicrous" and "rubbish".

Auclair also detailed how the "front of unanimity in European football is crumbling in front of our eyes" as some major figures in European football comment on the news of the ban.

For example, the head of La Liga Javier Tebas has suggested that "eight years seems lenient". 

While the prospects of reform at FIFA remain unclear with an election early next year and possibly more indictments on the way, Auclair cannot "foresee a future in which a FIFA functioning as it used to do, could carry on."