Ex-FIFA officials Blatter and Platini acquitted of fraud charges

After six years of investigations and two weeks of trials, Michel Platini and the former president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, were acquitted by a Swiss court on Friday of corruption charges.

Prosecutors accused Blatter, a Swiss national who led FIFA for 17 years, and Platini, a former France national team captain and manager, of unlawfully arranging for FIFA to pay Platini two million Swiss francs (€1.8 million) in 2011, and requested sentences of 20 months for the pair.

Both men denied the allegations. Blatter, 86, had said the two-million franc payment followed a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the pair when he asked Platini to be his technical adviser in 1998.

Platini, 67, worked as a consultant between 1998 and 2002 with an annual salary of 300,000 Swiss francs. The rest of Platini’s one million per year salary was to be settled at a later date, Blatter said.

Prosecutors said that the oral agreement between the two men never existed, and described it as an “invention”.

When Blatter approved the payment, he was campaigning for re-election and Platini, then president of UEFA, was seen as having sway with European members who could influence the vote.

Accusations of wrongdoing ended Blatter’s reign as FIFA president and wrecked Platini’s hopes of succeeding him, after both were banned from football when the affair came to light.

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