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Monday, November 28, 2022

Blatter and Platini acquitted of FIFA fraud charges

BELLINZONA, Switzerland ( Associated Press) — Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were acquitted by a Swiss criminal court on Friday of cheating on FIFA, a rare positive result for the pair who have previously been involved in a corruption investigation into football. One of the most powerful figures of

The case focused on a $2 million payment from FIFA to Platini with Blatter’s approval in 2011 for work done a decade earlier. The verdict was followed by an 11-day hearing at Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona last month.

“Following the decision of the Bellinzona Court judges this morning, I wanted to express my happiness to all my loved ones that justice has finally been delivered after seven years of lies and manipulation,” Platini said in a statement. “The truth has come out during this trial.

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“I keep saying this: My fight is the fight against injustice. I won the first game. There are some criminals in this case who did not appear during this trial. Let them trust me, we’ll meet again. Because I will not give up and will by all means go in search of the truth.

Swiss prosecutor Thomas Hildebrand requested a 20-month suspended sentence for both Blatter and Platini.

Blatter announced his plans to resign early as president in June 2015, as the result of a massive US corruption investigation – ending his 17-year rule. A separate but collaborative case led to the Platini payment being investigated by Swiss prosecutors.

The result ended Platini’s campaign to succeed his former mentor and saw the former French football great removed as president of European football’s governing body, UEFA.

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“Believe me, it’s very difficult to be a freak from a legend of world football, especially when it comes to you in a completely unfair way,” Platini said.

Both Blatter and Platini have long denied wrongdoing, claiming that they had an oral agreement in 1998 for Platini to receive additional pay, which FIFA could not pay at the time. Platini signed a contract in August 1999 to pay 300,000 Swiss Francs ($300,000) annually.

That defense first failed with judges from the FIFA Ethics Committee banning him from football, and later in separate appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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