Not Guilt: Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini freed following fraud trial

Neither Blatter nor Platini will be going to jail according to the Swiss court.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and immediate past president of UEFA Michel Platini have both been found not guilty following their fraud trial in Switzerland.

The two were on trial concerning a transfer of 2 million Swiss francs (N849 million) made by Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both men denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the transfer was a late payment for the former French footballer-turned UEFA president.

Platini between 1998 and 2002, worked in a consultancy capacity for FIFA.

Sepp Blatter with his daughter Corinne
Sepp Blatter with his daughter Corinne

86-year-old Blatter and 67-year-old Platini, Blatter and Platini were, in 2015, banned for 8 years by FIFA Ethics Committee following a corruption scandal.

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What did Blatter say?

Speaking just minutes after he arrived at the court venue on Friday, Blatter said: “I am not innocent in my life but in this case I am innocent.”

Blatter claimed in his testimony at the trial that when he was initially chosen to be the head of football’s global governing body in 1998, he asked Platini to serve as his advisor.

Sepp Blatter served as the eighth President of FIFA from 1998 to 2015
Sepp Blatter served as the eighth President of FIFA from 1998 to 2015

Platini on his end, claimed that Blatter informed him that FIFA could not afford his annual salary of 1 million Swiss francs (N425 million).

Instead, they decided on a yearly payment of 300,000 Swiss francs (N127.5 million), with the remaining balance to be paid later.

Blatter had told the court during the trial, adding they shook hands on their “gentleman’s agreement”.

Sepp Blatter (R) and Michel Platini (L) in 2015, banned for 8 years by FIFA Ethics Committee following a corruption scandal.
Sepp Blatter (R) and Michel Platini (L) in 2015, banned for 8 years by FIFA Ethics Committee following a corruption scandal.

Platini left FIFA in 2002 but did not pursue payment until 2010, claiming in court that he had not needed the money at the time of his departure, when, in Blatter’s words, FIFA was already “broke,” to which the judge agreed.

How did Platini react?

Speaking after the court declaration, the former UEFA President said, “I wanted to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation.

“The truth has come to light during this trial and I deeply thank the judges of the tribunal for the independence of their decision.

“I kept saying it – my fight is a fight against injustice. I won the first game.

Michel Platini
Michel Platini

“In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will meet again because I will not give up and I will go all the way in my quest for truth.”

Platini resigned as UEFA’s president after FIFA’s ethics committee looked into his behaviour as part of a larger effort to purge corruption from the organisation.

He was then banned from football for eight years, though that term was ultimately reduced to four. Subsequently, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected his appeal against the suspension in 2020.

The ban, according to Platini, was intended to prevent him from becoming FIFA president in 2015.

Source: PulseNG

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