Once the rulers of world football – after their downfall, Joseph Blatter and Michel Platini are now on trial. It will be interesting to see if the Frenchman can prove his “conspiracy” accusation.
07.06.2022 | As of 10:53 a.m.
There are two of the biggest unanswered questions in the most scandalous official world of football. Why did FIFA give Michel Platini two million Swiss francs led by Joseph Blatter? And how did Swiss criminal investigators discover the suspected payment?
Blatter (86) and Platini (66) have long since lost their position as the most powerful players in world football – and are now anxiously awaiting whether all the backgrounds can also be revealed in the trial of former friends before the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, canton Ticino. Top questions about the session starting on Wednesday:
What accused Blatter and Platini?
The charges include fraud, forgery and many other crimes. The former top officials are accused of deceiving FIFA over a pending claim by Platini for an advisory position to FIFA and Blatter from July 1998 to mid-2002. In 2010, UEFA president, Platini, introduced a “mock” bill worth two million Swiss francs – according to the prosecutor’s office Federal year – confirmed by Blatter. The amount went from FIFA to Platini’s account in 2011, and the FIFA also paid CHF22,9126 in social security contributions.
What does the accused say?
Platini’s defense argues that the trial was “the result of a conspiracy.” One can “show in detail that the actions against Mr Platini were politically motivated with the aim of preventing him from becoming president of FIFA,” said lawyer Dominic Nelen of the German news agency dpa. The goal was to “eliminate” Platini as FIFA president. The former European champion was considered the logical successor to Blatter. Instead, his former close friend Gianni Infantino rose to become President of the World Federation.
The FIFA Ethics Committee banned Blatter and Platini for eight years in 2015. Even if those sanctions were later relaxed, the ban would mean the end of Platini’s ambitions to become FIFA president. Blatter has always denied these allegations. He is looking forward to the trial “with optimism” and recently said: “I hope this story ends and all the facts are properly addressed.”
How does this process work?
A total of eleven days of negotiations are scheduled until June 22. A verdict is expected on July 8. Blatter will be questioned on Wednesday, followed by Platini a day later, and the testimony will begin. Meeting days are only scheduled from 9am to 1.30pm – with the aim of health of Blatter, who was temporarily in an artificial coma after undergoing surgery at the beginning of 2021. Both Blatter and Platini face up to five years in prison. However, if convicted, a lower sentence is considered likely.
What role does FIFA play?
The World Assembly appears as a joint plaintiff and wants the money back. FIFA President Infantino will not appear as a witness. Platini informed the former Secretary General of the European Football Association before the French judiciary at the end of last year about his effective influence. However, Infantino’s meetings with former federal prosecutor Michael Lauber are not part of the process that began. The FIFA president has long dismissed the allegations of collusion. In May 2021, a Swiss investigator will no longer be allowed to sue him for bias.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220606-99-567811 / 4