December 12 – FIFA to launch legal action against former president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA president Michel Platini to recover the CHF 2 million paid to Platini in 2011 on Blatter’s authority, which led to long bans for both of them.
The FIFA governance committee has told the organisation’s leadership that because the money had not been repaid, despite it having been ruled an “undue payment”, FIFA should initiate legal proceedings .
The payment was exposed in 2015 and although both Blatter and Platini insisted it was made under an oral agreement as back payment for work carried out between 1998 and 2002, there was no written contract.
Media reports say FIFA governance committee chairman Mukul Mudgal wrote to the increasingly influential FIFA deputy secretary general Alasdair Bell saying a resolution over the wrongful payment had now been passed.
“The FIFA administration (should) take the necessary steps before the relevant authorities in Switzerland against both Mr. Blatter and Mr. Platini with a view to ensuring that the CHF 2 million unduly paid by Mr. Blatter to Mr. Platini is returned to FIFA (together with interest, at the appropriate rate) and the disciplinary fines and costs imposed are recovered,” Mudgal wrote in a November 25 letter seen by The Associated Press.
Platini’s four-year ban has just expired meaning he can resume work in football amid speculation he will seek to take over as head of the French federation. He had been heir apparent to Blatter until they were both toppled from power.
Blatter is still serving his six-year ban for authorising the payment to Platini in 2011 as backdated salary for work as his adviser a decade earlier. Both continue to maintain they did nothing wrong.
In September 2015 The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland announced it was conducting an investigation in relation to the payment.
However, FIFA’s governance committee noted: “There has been no outcome or decision in connection with this investigation, nor does it appear that there will be one soon, in particular, since the investigation has been going on for over four years.”
The governance committee said that under Swiss law a claim to recover the undue payment must be filed as a claim in court by December 31 of this year.
“The FIFA governance committee draws attention to the fact that, notwithstanding the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Swiss Attorney General for criminal proceedings, the most appropriate course for FIFA to take, from a good governance perspective, is to initiate legal proceedings to recover the money illegally paid by the former president to the former vice president of FIFA in an appropriate civil jurisdiction.”
It recommended that the claims against Blatter and Platini should be made at the same time. It is now up to the FIFA administration to decide whether to act on this advice.
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