Sepp Blatter's hold on power at Fifa appears to be slipping after he was banned from the organisation for 90 days along with Uefa boss Michel Platini over alleged corruption.
Blatter's 17-year reign at the top of football's under-fire governing body has hit its biggest crisis yet, while Platini's hopes of eventually succeeding him in top job could be rocked by the provisional ban from Fifa's ethics committee which could still be extended by a further 45 days.
Fifa general secretary and key Blatter ally Jerome Valcke was handed a matching punishment.
Swiss prosecutors' probes into numerous allegations of corruption at Fifa recently uncovered a contentious £1.3m payment made from Blatter to Platini in 2011 for work performed years earlier.
The ruling is also believed to be based on Fifa's 2005 sale of television rights to now-banned former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner.
Meanwhile, another Fifa presidential hopeful, the South Korean Chung Mong-Joon has been banned for six years and fined £67,308.
Chung is said to have violated six articles from Fifa's code of ethics during the bidding process for the controversial 2018/2022 World Cups eventually awarded to Russia and Qatar.
In a statement, Blatter's lawyers said Fifa's ethics committee had not followed its own code by not allowing him to be heard and had misunderstood the Swiss Attorney General's investigation.
It said: "[the Swiss Attorney General] has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the President. In fact, the prosecutors will be obliged by law to dismiss the case if their investigation, barely two weeks old, does not establish sufficient evidence. President Blatter looks forward to the opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate that he did not engage in any misconduct, criminal or otherwise."
Platini described the suspension as an "extremely serious matter" after rumours of the impending suspension surfaced yesterday.
He argued that the "insidious" leak was an attempt from someone at Fifa to damage his reputation.
All four banned persons can appeal the decision to Fifa's appeals committee and, if that fails, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.