Sepp Blatter And Michel Platini Cleared Of Corruption
Former FIFA president, Sepp Blatter and UEFA president, Michel Platini, were acquitted of corruption from a Swiss court on Friday.
The trial was focused on an alleged US$2.05 million payment organised in 2011 by Blatter to Platini, when the former French footballer was the president of European soccer’s governing body, UEFA.
Prosecutors labelled the payment as a bribe, which was made when Blatter was standing for re-election, however, both denied the allegations and said the money was owed to Platini for work done over several years.
The pair were banned from football for eight years after the payment came to light in 2015, however the punishments were later reduced.
Platini, who lost his role as following the ban, said the matter was an attempt to hinder his effort to become FIFA president in 2015.
On the verdict, a court statement said: “the result of the evidence supports the version of the accused, the facts of the indictment cannot therefore be considered to have been created with a probability bordering on certainty and the court adheres to the version the prosecution’s serious doubts remain.”
Blatter said the payment to Platini was a paying of salary owed to the Frenchman for some consultancy work done with FIFA between 1998 and 2002.
“It’s a salary that was due. I don’t know why we are in a criminal hearing for an administrative procedure,” Blatter said
“Platini told me, I’m worth a million and I told him, so you’ll be with me for a million — gentlemen’s agreement,” he said.
Commenting on the verdict, Platini, told CNN: “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.
“My fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game. 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,” he said.