Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini cleared of fraud by Swiss Court
The pair were charged by prosecutors last November but have now been acquitted
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA president Michel Platini have both been found not guilty of fraud in the Swiss federal criminal court.
The pair, once two of the most powerful men in world football, were charged by prosecutors last November following a six-year investigation into a £1.6m payment made by Mr Blatter to Mr Platini in 2011.
Prosecutors argued the payment from FIFA, and authorised by then President Blatter, had been “made without legal basis”.
However, both men have been acquitted.
In a statement, Mr Platini’s lawyer Dominic Nellen praised the court for its decision.
“My client’s full acquittal is the only correct outcome of these criminal proceedings, the court has properly assessed the evidence and finally put an end to this unspeakable criminal proceeding.” Nellen said.
“A neutral court has finally found that no wrongdoing was committed in this case. My client is completely cleared and relieved accordingly.”
The case brought Mr Blatter’s reign as FIFA president to a disgraceful end, meanwhile Mr Platini’s hopes to succeed Blatter as a protege was halted as he was banned from football.
Mr Blatter had said the payment followed a "gentlemen's agreement" between the pair when he asked Mr Platini to be his technical advisor in 1998.
Both men denied any foul play and said the transfer was made following a "gentleman's agreement" for Mr Platini's advisory work for FIFA between 1998 and 2002.
“The truth has come to light during this trial, and I deeply thank the judges of the tribunal for the independence of their decision.” Mr Platini said.
“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.
Mr Platini added: “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.”