Banned FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have had their suspensions reduced from eight to six years by the Appeal Committee, it has been announced today.
The duo had been given eight-year bans from football by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee in December of last year over an alleged "disloyal" payment of CHF2 million (£1.5 million/$2 million/€1.8 million) made to the Frenchman by the Swiss in 2011.
Their appeal over the original sentencing has been rejected and Blatter has confirmed he will contest his suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with Platini expected to follow suit.
They have both continually denied any wrongdoing.
"I’m deeply disappointed by the FIFA appeal chamber and the next step is going further to CAS in Lausanne," the Swiss said in response to the announcement.
In a statement, FIFA said the Appeal Committee "determined that some strong mitigating factors were not taken into account when establishing the sanction".
"In this sense, amongst others, the Appeal Committee considered that Mr Platini’s and Mr Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor," the statement added.
The Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee's appeal over the the ruling laid down by the Adjudicatory Chamber, which claimed the initial punishments given to the pair were too lenient, has also been dismissed.
They were seeking both Blatter and Platini to be banned from all footballing activity for life.
The Appeal Committee supported the view of the Adjudicatory Chamber and found that the allegations against the 79-year-old Swiss and the former France international did not breach Article 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, which deals with bribery and corruption.
Their respective appeals against the sanctions for breaching general rules of conduct, loyalty, conflict of interests and offering and accepting gifts and other benefits were thrown out by the Appeal Committee.
It is chaired by Bermudan Larry Mussenden, who is bidding to become the next head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
Platini has been fined CHF80,000 (£58,000/$81,000/€74,000), while Blatter has been ordered to pay a fine of CHF50,000 (£36,000/$51,000/€46,000).
The news comes ahead of the FIFA Presidential Election in Zurich on Friday (February 26), where a successor to Blatter, President of world football's governing body since 1998, is due to be appointed.
Asian Football Confederation President Shaikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino are considered the two frontrunners in a race which also includes Jordanian Football Association chief Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale and Frenchman Jérôme Champagne.
Today's ruling means neither Blatter or Platini will be able to attend the election.
The Swiss has always insisted that he would like to attend the ballot.
The Frenchman, who scored 41 goals in 72 appearances for his country during his footballing career, had attempted to stand in the election before he was provisionally suspended in October.
Following the Ethics Committee banning him in December, he then withdrew, though he was never formally declared as a candidate.