Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex UEFA president Michel Platini have been charged with fraud following an investigation into a £1.6million payment.
Blatter and Platini claim that the payment was made to Platini for work that he carried out for the former FIFA president between 1998 and 2002 but the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) said that the payment “was made without a legal basis. This payment damaged FIFA's assets and unlawfully enriched Platini.” The pair are expected to stand trial at the federal criminal court in Bellinzona within months.
Blatter had been FIFA president for 17 years before he resigned in 2015 following the corruption scandal that later saw him charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document. Platini was also embroiled in the same scandal and indicted on charges including fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.
Blatter and Platini were banned from all football for eight years but these were reduced to six and four years upon appeal. Blatter’s initial ban expired last month but he was handed a further ban of six years and eight months in March for his financial wrongdoing.
"I look forward to the trial before the Federal Criminal Court with optimism and I hope that this story will come to an end and that all the facts will be dealt with properly," Blatter said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Regarding the payment of the sum of two million francs (£1.6M) from FIFA to Michel Platini, I can only repeat myself: It was based on an oral contract that regulated Platini's advisory activities for FIFA between 1998 and 2002,"
Blatter added that the payments had been approved by "all responsible FIFA bodies" and that Platini had paid tax on the amount "at his Swiss place of residence".
The OAG said its investigation revealed that Platini worked as a consultant for then FIFA president Blatter between 1998-2002 and that an annual compensation of 300,000 Swiss francs was agreed in a written contract.
"Over eight years after the termination of his advisory activity, Platini demanded a payment in the amount of two million Swiss francs," the OAG said.
"With Blatter's involvement, FIFA made a payment to Platini in said amount at the beginning of 2011. The evidence gathered by the OAG has corroborated that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis."
Platini said he had only heard news of the trial through media reports.