Swiss Authorities Charge Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for Fraud

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini

Swiss authorities have charged former FIFA officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for criminal offences, including fraud.

The prosecutors have investigated a $2million payment from Blatter to Platini for six years and concluded this “damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini.”

Blatter, 85, and Platini, 65, will undergo a federal criminal trial in a few months time in Bellinzona. The pair have both long denied any wrongdoing.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini Charged for Criminal Offences

Who They Are

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were political heavyweights in world football’s two biggest governing bodies: FIFA and UEFA.

Blatter began working at FIFA in 1975 and rose through the organisation as an effective administrator.

He was championed by then-FIFA president Joao Hanvelange. They both worked closely together when Blatter became general secretary in 1981. In 1998, he succeeded his mentor and resided in football’s top position for 17 years.

On the other hand, Platini became one of the world’s greatest on the pitch before seeking a governing position. The Frenchman won three consecutive Balon d’Ors between 1983 and 1985, and he was named the 1984 European Championships’ player of the tournament for leading his team to the trophy. Platini accumulated awards and titles throughout his career, with most of his success coming at Juventus.

After retirement and a brief stint in coaching, Platini moved up the administrative ladder and became UEFA president in 2006. He worked closely with Blatter on governance throughout his tenure.

When Blatter was forced to resign in 2015, Platini announced his candidacy to be the next FIFA president. However, he withdrew from the race as a result of being banned from football governance.

The Allegation

The allegation that brought down two of football’s biggest administrative figures stems from an apparent role Platini fulfilled between 1998 and 2002.

Platin was a member of Blatter’s original team that sought election and had a contract of 300,000 Swiss Francs per year. Blatter could not justify paying him more because this was the top salary at FIFA. Therefore, the pair ‘verbally agreed’ to a $2million payment for the Frenchman’s service, which was not under contract.

Platini’s first request for the payment came in February 2010 before asking again in June the same year. He was told to invoice directly to FIFA the following year and he eventually received the payment in February 2011. Weeks later, Platini endorsed Blatter in his election campaign.

FIFA’s ethics committee forensically investigated the payment and dismissed both defendants’ views of events. They were suspended from football for 90 days before being banned for eight years. Blatter’s ban was extended by another six years earlier in March.

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