Things have just gone from bad to worse in the scandals surrounding FIFA. Both Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini could see their current 90-day suspensions extended to a whopping five years, according to a report in Germany.
FIFA's ethics committee already suspended both over the issue of significant and "disloyal" payments from Blatter to Platini in 2011 -- which the pair claim was from a "gentleman's agreement" over work Platini did years before -- but also reserved the right to extend the term of their bans pending further investigation. Apparently, they've found something worth going for the throat over.
If this report pans out and both Blatter and Platini are given five-year bans, it would represent a huge shift in the FIFA landscape. A year ago, even the short-term suspensions they're currently on would have been unthinkable. Even in the immediate wake of the corruption scandal that set us down the road we're on, figures as major as Blatter and Platini being given five-year bans seemed hilariously unlikely.
The ethics committee still hasn't made a public decision, and we probably won't hear anything official until after the emergency meeting the FIFA executive committee called for early next week. If they are banned as reported, Blatter and Platini would be able to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS, for short) to appeal the decision.
However, a positive result for them would be far from certain -- the FIFA ethics committee wouldn't be taking this kind of action against the presidents of FIFA and UEFA unless they had an airtight case.
Stay tuned, folks. This one's going to get a lot more interesting before everything is said and done.