October 20 – In a seemingly never-ending saga, Swiss federal prosecutors have filed an appeal to overturn last summer’s acquittals of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini on corruption charges.
Despite both having been banned from the game by FIFA and following an investigation lasting seven years, Blatter and Platini, once the two most powerful officials in world football, were found not guilty of fraud, embezzlement and other corruption charges in a criminal case brought by Swiss judicial authorities that gripped world football politics.
Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, and Platini, the one-time UEFA boss who courted and coveted Blatter’s job but never got it, were acquitted of defrauding FIFA, a hugely significant ruling in their respective bids to clear their names but a blow – not for the first time – to the Swiss judicial process and to FIFA.
The verdict followed an 11-day trial at the Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland in Bellinzona and centred around the so-called $2 million “disloyal payment” from FIFA to Platini with Blatter’s approval in 2011, for work done a decade earlier.
But now the pair are being brought back to court. The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) confirmed it had filed an appeal before Wednesday night’s deadline.
Switzerland’s top prosecutor “has applied for the full annulment of the first-instance judgement,” a spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General was quoted as saying. FIFA, a civil party to the prosecution, has not yet announced whether it will follow suit.
The prosecutors reportedly had 20 days to make their intentions clear after the reception of the full verdict from the Federal Criminal Court on September 29.
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