Blatter and Platini were put on trial for corruption, following a US government investigation which uncovered a payment of close to £2 million made by FIFA to Mr Platini. Prosecutors said it was illegal, but the couple said it was pre-arranged. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini have been acquitted of corruption by a Swiss court. Criminal proceedings were launched against the pair after a two million Swiss franc (£1.7m) payment from FIFA to Platini in 2015 was discovered.
Blatter, 86, ran FIFA, soccer’s world body, at the time, while Platini, 67, ran UEFA, the executive body for soccer in Europe. Speaking after the verdict, Platini said: “I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones because justice has finally been served after seven years of lies and manipulation.” He added: “My fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first match.” Blatter said: “I’m not talking about FIFA, I’m not talking about corruption, I’m talking about myself. “I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m clean in my conscience, I’m clean in my spirit.” The payment in question was made in 2011 after what the two men said was a “gentleman’s agreement” made in 1998 by Swiss court. Prosecutors said this version of events was a “fabric.”
It was claimed that, while he was FIFA technical director between 1998 and 2002, Platini was paid 300,000 Swiss francs (£118,000 at the time) per year. He could not be given more due to financial problems at FIFA, so it was agreed Swiss court that the remainder of the million francs (£400,000) salary would be paid at a later date. Blatter approved the transfer of funds from FIFA to Platini while campaigning to be re-elected president of soccer’s world body a decade later. Platini was seen dominating the European caucus for votes in competition against Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam.