Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president, and Michel Platini, ex-president at UEFA, were charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss prosecutors yesterday after a six-year investigation of a controversial $2 million payment.
Blatter, 85, and Platini, 65, face a trial within months at federal criminal court in Bellinzona, Switzerland.
“This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini,” Swiss federal prosecutors said in a statement.
The case from September 2015 ousted Blatter ahead of schedule as FIFA president and ended then-UEFA president Platini’s campaign to succeed his former mentor.
It centers on Platini’s written request to FIFA in January 2011 to be paid backdated additional salary for working as a presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term, from 1998 to 2002. Blatter authorised FIFA to make the payment within weeks. He was preparing to campaign for re-election in a contest against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, in which Platini’s influence with European voters would be a key factor.
Both Blatter and Platini have long denied wrongdoing and cited a verbal agreement they had made, now more than 20 years ago, for the money to be paid.
Blatter has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.