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2 Nov, 2021 19:16

Disgraced FIFA duo Blatter & Platini set for federal criminal court trial after being charged with fraud

Disgraced FIFA duo Blatter & Platini set for federal criminal court trial after being charged with fraud

Disgraced ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA boss Michel Platini have been charged with fraud and a string of other offenses after Swiss investigators looked into payments of around $2.2 million.

The case stretches back to September 2015, with Blatter ousted prematurely from his reign as FIFA president and then-UEFA counterpart Platini having his campaign to succeed him ended by the scandal.

Also that month, police raided FIFA's headquarters on the same day Platini attended an executive committee meeting.

In 2011, Platini made a written request to FIFA to be paid a backdated extra salary for his time as Blatter's adviser, in his first presidential term from 1998 to 2002.  

"This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini," said Swiss federal prosecutors in a statement, and Blatter allegedly ordered the world governing body to make it within weeks of his request. 

At the time, he was preparing for re-election in competition with Qatar's Mohamed bin Hamman, and Platini's influence with voters in Europe was a strong factor in him staying in power.

Though they continue to deny any wrongdoing while citing a verbal agreement they supposedly made 20 years ago in relation to the money, Blatter has now been charged with fraud, mismanagement, forgery of a document and misappropriation of FIFA funds.

Platini, not placed under investigation until 2020 before the fraud charges were included against both him and Blatter months after, has been charged with misappropriation, forgery, fraud and acting as an accomplice to Blatter's mismanagement.

As a consequence, the 85 and 65-year-olds will face criminal trials at a Bellinzona federal court. 

In December 2020, it was reported that Blatter could also face charges in relation to a football museum after a 'forensic audit' triggered a complaint once it was revealed that a building restoration and rent agreement totaled $554 million.

In a statement, the organization demanded state prosecutors look into criminal activities from Blatter and other ex-officials involved in the project.

"We came to the conclusion that we had no choice other than to report the case to state prosecutors, not least because the current management of FIFA also has fiduciary responsibilities to the organization and we intend to live up to them, even if those before us dismally failed to," said its deputy secretary general Alasdair Bell.

At the time, Blatter's lawyer Lorenz Erni claimed the the accusations against his client, who is serving a six-year ban from football, were "baseless and vehemently repudiated".