Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were filmed on May 29, 2015. They were once one of the most powerful figures in the world of football.
Michael Buholzer | AFP | Getty Images
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former UEFA President Michel Platini were cleared of corruption charges by a Swiss court on Friday.
Blatter, who has led FIFA for 17 years, has been freed from fraud by the Federal Criminal Police Office in a city in southern Bellinzona.
Platini, a former French captain and manager, was also acquitted of fraud.
They were once one of the most powerful figures in the world of football, but denied accusations against them.
Prosecutors have accused Swiss Blatter and Platini, who led FIFA for 17 years, illegally arranged for FIFA to pay CHF 2 million (£ 1.7 million) to French in 2011.
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The case meant that Blatter ended his reign as FIFA president in disgrace, shattering the hope that Platini would take over after he was banned from football when the case came to light. ..
When Blatter asked Platini for a technical advisor in 1998, he said the payment was in accordance with a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the pairs.
Platini worked as a consultant from 1998 to 2002 with an annual salary of CHF 300,000 (£ 257,000). Blatter told the court that FIFA was able to pay for the organization’s financial problems at the time.
Platini’s remaining £ 1m annual salary (£ 857,000) was set to settle at a later date, Blatter said.
The motive for the payment was unclear, but the two men met in 2010 to discuss the upcoming elections for the 2011 FIFA Presidency.
When Blatter approved the payment, he was campaigning for re-election against Mohammed bin Hammam in Qatar. Platini, then President of the UEFA, was seen as upset with European members who could influence the vote.
The payment came after the US Department of Justice launched a large-scale investigation into FIFA’s bribery, fraud, and money laundering in 2015, triggering Mr. Blatter’s resignation.
Both officials were banned from football for eight years in 2015 over payments, after which the ban was lifted.
Platini, who lost his position as UEFA president after the ban, said the case was a deliberate attempt to thwart attempts to become FIFA president in 2015.
Gianni Infantino, the former General Secretary of the UEFA of Platini, participated in the FIFA race and won the election in 2016.
Following the verdict, Platini said, “I want to express happiness to everyone who loves that justice has finally taken place after seven years of lies and manipulation.”
“My fight is a fight against injustice. I won the first game,” he added.