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20 Oct, 2022 12:38

Former football powerbrokers face retrial calls

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were cleared of corruption charges in July
Former football powerbrokers face retrial calls

Swiss federal prosecutors have confirmed that they have filed an appeal to see the acquittals of ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini overturned.

Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court cleared the pair of corruption charges in July following a seven-year investigation that froze them out of football.

Prosecutors said at the time that they would examine the written verdict ahead of deciding whether to appeal against the two men, who once enjoyed major power in the sport.

Blatter and Platini denied any wrongdoing, and a judge found their claims of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for world governing body FIFA to pay French football legend Platini 2 million Swiss francs ($1.99 million) for consulting work in 2011 credible.

Serious doubts existed about the prosecution's allegation that the payment was fraudulent.

But the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) confirmed a report from the Neue Zuercher Zeitung by revealing it has “filed an appeal with the Appeals Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court within the statutory time limit” and that it has requested “the first-instance judgment be set aside in its entirety.”

Three-time Ballon d’Or winner Platini worked as a consultant between 1998 and 2002 and was paid a yearly salary of 300,000 Swiss francs ($299,000).

Blatter told the court during his trial that this was the most FIFA could afford due to money troubles, with the rest of his 1 million ($998,000) Swiss francs salary to be settled at a later date.  

Details of the 2011 payment emerged after the US Department of Justice launched a huge investigation into fraud, money-laundering and bribery at FIFA in 2015.

This caused both men to be banned from football for eight years, although their sanctions were eventually reduced.

Blatter handed in his resignation at FIFA amid the scandal, with Platini also losing the job he had held since 2007 as UEFA president. 

According to Platini, the debacle was a direct attempt to harm his quest to become FIFA president in 2015. Later entering the race, Platini’s former general secretary Gianni Infantino won an election in 2016 and became the organization’s leader.

Platini was succeeded by Aleksander Ceferin at UEFA after Angel Maria Villar’s tenure at the helm lasted less than a year from October 2015 to September 2016.

Speaking after the verdict when he was cleared in July, Platini celebrated that justice had “finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation.”

“My fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game,” he added.