KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini must go on trial in Switzerland over the notorious “disloyal payment” by FIFA back in 2011.
Both the Swiss former president of world football federation and the French ex-supremo of European governing body UEFA have denied any and all wrongdoing.
Blatter, 85, completed a final set of investigatory interviews last August. after various delays because of his fragile state of health. He underwent heart surgery last December and could be questioned for only 90 minutes each day.
The investigation concerns the payment by FIFA, on the orders of then-president Blatter, of two million Swiss francs to Platini in early 2011, without written justification.
Platini was then both UEFA president and a FIFA vice-president, but the work for which he claimed the payment had been undertaken 10 years earlier when he worked as Blatter’s ‘football counsellor’.
Prosecutors believe the two men lied as to the reason for the payment made, more than coincidentally, a few months before the re-election of Blatter, in June 2011, as FIFA president. Blatter stood unopposed.
A statement said: “This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini. The evidence has corroborated that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis.”
Blatter has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.
The trial will be held in Bellinzona early next year. Maximum punishments for such offences runs to prison terms of five years.