Former FIFA officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini face corruption trialComments
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will go on trial for fraud and other offences, Switzerland’s federal criminal court has said.
The former FIFA officials will face a Swiss federal court in June after more than six years of criminal proceedings.
Blatter -- who served as FIFA President from 1998 to 2015 -- is accused of authorising FIFA to pay Platini 2 million Swiss francs (€1.98 million) in 2011.
Platini had made a written request to FIFA to be paid a backdated additional salary for working as a presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term in office.
Blatter, 86, and Platini, 66, have both denied wrongdoing and say they had a verbal agreement for 20 years over the payment.
When Blatter cleared the FIFA payment in 2011 he was preparing to campaign for re-election in a contest against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, where Platini’s influence with European voters was seen as a key factor.
“The evidence gathered by the (Swiss Attorney General’s Office) has corroborated that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis,” federal prosecutors said last year.
The allegations revealed by Swiss federal prosecutors in September 2015 removed Blatter as FIFA president and ultimately ended Platini’s campaign to succeed him.
Platini was also ousted as UEFA president after he was banned from football because of the payment.
Blatter has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document, while Platini is accused of fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.
They face up to five years in jail each if convicted of the fraud and forgery charges.
Although Blatter had been under suspicion since 2015, Platini was not placed under formal investigation until 2020.