Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been acquitted of fraud
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, once the chiefs of world and European football, have been acquitted over a suspect fraudulent payment that shook the sport and torpedoed their time at the top.
Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court in the southern city of Bellinzona on Friday rejected the prosecution’s request for a suspended prison sentence of a year and eight months, following a mammoth investigation that began in 2015 and lasted six years.
Former FIFA president Blatter, 86, and Platini, 67, were tried over a two million Swiss franc ($2.05m) payment in 2011 to Platini, who was then in charge of European football’s governing body UEFA.
The former French football great “submitted to FIFA in 2011 an allegedly fictitious invoice for a (alleged) debt still existing for his activity as an adviser for FIFA in the years 1998 to 2002”, according to the court.
Blatter insisted before the court that the pair had struck an oral “gentlemen’s agreement”, with some of Platini’s remuneration to be paid at a later date when FIFA’s fragile finances would allow it.
Both were accused of fraud and forgery of a document. Blatter was accused of misappropriation and criminal mismanagement, while Platini was accused of participating in those offences.