FIFA bans 'important first step'

Sepp Blatter (AFP Photo)
Sepp Blatter (AFP Photo)

Los Angeles - NBA legend Kobe Bryant called the eight-year bans issued Monday to FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini an "important first step" in cleaning up global football.

The 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers guard, a five-time NBA champion and twice an Olympic gold medal winner, is in his 20th and final NBA campaign, announcing his retirement last month.

The American spent several years as a youth in Italy playing football and supporting AC Milan. He follows the sport and was clear in his condemnation of Blatter and Platini, barred for abusing their positions over a suspect $2 million payment.

"It's always a touchy thing. You are dealing with a big business," Bryant said.

"I think this is an important first step to cleaning up the sport.

"With life being as brutal as it is, we come to sport as an escape. When something like this happens, it damages the emotional Shangri-La you get from sport."

Bryant had confidence that those making efforts to revamp FIFA in the wake of the corruption will succeed.

"I'm sure they are on top of it and I'm sure they will get the sport back where we all want it to be," Bryant said.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 7671 votes
Cricket
11% - 1942 votes
Football
19% - 3511 votes
Athletics
3% - 459 votes
Boxing
1% - 168 votes
Cycling
2% - 437 votes
Golf
5% - 899 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1519 votes
Tennis
3% - 603 votes
Water sports
1% - 166 votes
American sports
1% - 213 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 562 votes
Vote