Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter and European football (soccer) chief Michel Platini have lost their appeals against provisional 90-days bans by the global football body's ethics committee, FIFA said on Wednesday.
The provisional ban stops Platini from working as UEFA president and halted his candidacy for the FIFA election on Feb. 26. Blatter is also barred from his FIFA presidential office after 17 years.
Platini's lawyers quickly criticized a "uniquely one-sided, unjust and biased" investigation against him and said they will appeal his 90-day suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
FIFA "is also organizing a deliberate and unacceptable strategy of delaying Michel Platini's campaign for the FIFA presidency," a spokesman for the former France great's Paris-based legal firm said.
Blatter and Platini were suspended last month, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as the sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.
In a related development, Chile's top football official Sergio Jadue has reportedly entered a witness protection program in the United States to cooperate with the FBI's bribery investigation within FIFA, Chilean media reported Wednesday.
Jadue resigned as president of the Chilean National Football Association (ANFP) and traveled to the U.S. late Tuesday with his family.
Surrounded by police at Santiago Airport, a visibly shaken Jadue told reporters he was going on vacation for a few months to rest and spend time with his family.
But the newspaper El Mercurio cited sources in the football association saying he was going to be a "protected witness" in the U.S.
Local police had served Jadue a subpoena on Friday as part of what the ANFP said was an investigation into how it allocates salaries, hours after he announced he would take a 30-day leave for medical reasons.