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Blatter, Platini Cleared Of Corruption Charges

Blatter, Platini Cleared Of Corruption Charges

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president and French football legend Michel Platini have been cleared of corruption by a Swiss court.

Criminal proceedings were launched against the pair after a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.7m) from FIFA to Platini was uncovered in 2015.

Blatter, 86, was the head of FIFA at the time, while Platini, 67, was head of UEFA.

Speaking following the verdict, Platini said: “I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation.”

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He added: “My fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game.”

And in his reaction Blatter said: “I’m not speaking about FIFA, I’m not speaking about corruption, I’m speaking about me.

“I have done nothing wrong. I am clean with my conscious, I am clean in my spirit.”

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The payment in question was made in 2011 following what the two men said was a “gentleman’s agreement” made in 1998. Prosecutors said this version of events was an “invention”.

It was claimed that, while a technical director for FIFA between 1998 and 2002, Platini was paid 300,000 Swiss francs (£118,000 at the time) per year.

He could not be given more due to financial troubles at FIFA, so tit was agreed he rest of the one million francs (£400,000) salary would be handed over at a later date.

Blatter approved the transfer of funds from FIFA to Platini while campaigning to be re-elected the head of the world football body a decade later.

Platini was seen to hold sway over the European caucus of votes in the competition against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.

The US government launched a wide-ranging investigation into bribery, fraud and money laundering at FIFA in 2015 which led to Blatter standing down.

Both he and Platini were banned from football for eight years in 2015, but this was later reduced.

Platini claimed the investigation was a deliberate plot to prevent him from ascending to being leader of FIFA.

Recall Platini represented France at three FIFA World Cups: 1978, 1982 and 1986.

He netted the only goal from the penalty spot, as Juventus became the third Italian team to win the Champions League following their 1-0 win against Liverpool in the 1985 final.

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