Posted: Monday, July 11, 2022. 10:05 am CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: They were once the two most powerful men in football but the FIFA scandal dragged their names into disrepute and were accused of defrauding FIFA of $2 million. On Friday, ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Michel Platini were acquitted by a Swiss criminal court, according to the Associated Press.
Blatter and Platini were accused of swindling FIFA of $2 million. Blatter paid Platini approximately $2 million in 2011 for work he did ten years earlier.
Both were cleared of the charges by the Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland in Bellinzona and in fact were awarded a sum for court costs plus Blatter was also awarded 20,000 Swiss francs (US$20,500) in compensation for being morally wronged.
The Swiss prosecutor had asked the court for a 20-month suspended sentence for both.
“First of all, I have to say that I’m very happy man,” said 86-year-old Blatter after coming out of the court.
“I am a happy man because I also have to express thanks to the court today, to this city, for people in the court, the way they have analyzed the situation and they have explained why both of us we haven’t done anything.”
Both insisted that the payment for work Platini had done advising Blatter from 1998 to 2002 was based on a verbal gentleman’s agreement, said The Guardian. Blatter had said FIFA had not paid Platini at the time because FIFA’s finances were in a perilous state.
The Swiss prosecutors had said the payment was “without a legal basis” because there was no written contract and had “unlawfully enriched Platini”.
On Friday, before the acquittal, Blatter and Platini shook hands and joked, and looked relieved afterwards.
After the acquittal, Platini, who has said that the case was deliberately brought up to stop him from becoming FIFA president in 2015, said he was happy with the outcome.
“I wanted to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation,” he said. “The truth has come to light during this trial.”
Platini, who has been a legend of the game for his exploits on the field representing France, said his fight for justice is not over.
“Believe me, going from being a legend of world soccer to a devil is very difficult, especially when it comes to you in a totally unfair way. I kept saying it – my fight is a fight against injustice. I won the 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.
But, while Blatter and Platini were let go by the court, the FIFA ethics committee didn’t accept their explanation years ago and banned both from football. Their explanation was also rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The payment forced Blatter out of FIFA and Platini out of UEFA.
The prosecution has ten days to appeal.
Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Belize ~ We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Belize and abroad! Contact us at mаrkеtіng@brеаkіngbеlіzеnеwѕ.соm or call us at 501-601-0315.
© 2022, BreakingBelizeNews.com. Content is copyrighted and requires written permission for reprinting in online or print media. Theft of content without permission/payment is punishable by law.