Swiss court acquits two former football brokers for fraud

A Swiss court acquitted former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and French soccer legend and former UEFA boss Michel Platini of corruption charges on Friday, ending a seven-year investigation.

Both were charged with fraud regarding an alleged $2 million payment in 2011 from Blatter to Platini for consultancy fees.

The Swiss judge said on Friday that the payment had been used credibly for consultancy work and was likely not fraudulent.

Blatter and Platini had called the payment a “gentlemen’s agreement”.

“I’ve always said my conscience was clear,” Blatter told reporters outside the court.

“Of course, no one is perfect, but in the case of my job, my job, 44 years of working at FIFA, it is so important to me that this matter is resolved at the highest Swiss level,” added the 86 year old player.

Former UEFA President Michel Platini, surrounded by journalists, arrives at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court to hear the verdict of his trial for alleged fraudulent payment, in the southern Swiss town of Bellinzona, July 8, 2022 .

Platini also expressed relief at the decision.

“I want to express my joy for all my loved ones that justice has finally been served after seven years of lies and manipulation,” Platini said.

“The truth has come out,” he added. “I kept saying it: my fight is a fight against injustice.”

Both men were banned from football several years ago.

Both could have been sentenced to prison terms or fines.

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.