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Blatter and Platini acquitted on charges of defrauding FIFA

Platini said in a statement: ‘The truth has come to light during this trial.’

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Sepp Blatter outside court (Keystone via AP)

Sepp Blatter outside court (Keystone via AP)

Sepp Blatter outside court (Keystone via AP)

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been acquitted on charges of defrauding world football governing body FIFA by a Swiss criminal court.

Swiss prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand had requested a 20-month suspended sentence for each at the end of the trial at the Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland in Bellinzona.

Former French football legend and ex-UEFA president Platini said in a statement: “Following the decision of the judges of the Court of Bellinzona, this morning, I wanted to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation.

“The truth has come to light during this trial.

“I kept saying it: my fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game. In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will meet again. Because I will not give up and I will go all the way in my quest for truth.”

The case was centred around a two million dollar (£1.6 million) payment from FIFA to Platini with former FIFA president Blatter’s approval in 2011, for work carried out a decade earlier.

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Michel Platini (John Walton/PA)

Michel Platini (John Walton/PA)

Michel Platini (John Walton/PA)

Blatter announced his plan to resign early as FIFA president, in June 2015, in the fallout from a sprawling American corruption investigation – ending his 17-year reign.

A separate but cooperating case by Swiss prosecutors led to the Platini payment being investigated.

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

“Believe me, going from being a legend of world soccer to a devil is very difficult, especially when it comes to you in a totally unfair way,” Platini added.

Both Blatter and Platini have long denied wrongdoing and claim they had a verbal deal in 1998 for Platini to get extra salary that FIFA could not pay at the time. Platini signed a contract in August 1999 to be paid 300,000 Swiss francs (£250,000) annually.

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That defence first failed with judges at the FIFA ethics committee, which banned them from football, and later in separate appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


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