Former Fifa officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini charged with fraud

Swiss prosecutors press charges over $2m payment

Former Fifa officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss prosecutors after an investigation into a $2.2 million payment.

The charges come after a six-year investigation by Swiss officials into the payment made in 2011 by Mr Blatter, 85, to Mr Platini, 65.

Prosecutors say the pair face a trial within months at federal criminal court in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

“This payment damaged Fifa’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini,” Swiss federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The investigation dates back to September 2015 when Mr Blatter forced to leave his post as Fifa president and ended then-Uefa president Mr Platini’s campaign to succeed his former mentor.

The case centres on Mr Platini’s written request to Fifa in January 2011 to be paid backdated additional salary for working as a presidential adviser in Mr Blatter’s first term, from 1998-2002.

Mr Blatter authorised Fifa to make the payment within weeks.

He was preparing to campaign for re-election in a contest against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, in which the influence of Mr Platini – who had been a European member of Fifa's executive committee since 2002 – with European voters were a crucial factor.

Both Mr Blatter and Mr Platini have long denied wrongdoing and cited an oral agreement they had made, now more than 20 years ago, for the money to be paid.

Mr Blatter has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of Fifa funds and forgery of a document.

Mr Platini has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.

Mr Blatter became Fifa's general secretary in 1981 and president of world football's governing body in 1998.

He was forced to stand down in 2015 and was banned by Fifa for eight years, later reduced to six, for authorising what prosecutors called a "disloyal payment" to the former French football star Mr Platini.

The ban was imposed for multiple breaches of Fifa's ethics code and Mr Blatter was fined one million Swiss francs ($1.1m).

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 4:08 PM