Who is Sepp Blatter and what have he and Michel Platini been charged with in FIFA fraud investigation?

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is accused of a £1.6million fraud along with ex UEFA president Michel Platini

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the ex head of UEFA and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud relating to a £1.6 million payment.

Prosecutors in Switzerland revealed they had filed an indictment against the pair accusing them of unlawfully arranging a payment of 2 million Swiss Francs (£1.6m) to Mr Platini.

The investigation has been ongoing for six years.

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Here is what you need to know about Sepp Blatter and what he is accused of.

Sepp Blatter pictured in Zurich in May 2015Sepp Blatter pictured in Zurich in May 2015
Sepp Blatter pictured in Zurich in May 2015

Who is Sepp Blatter?

Joseph Blatter, 85, known as Sepp, was the eighth president of the FIFA from 1998 to 2015, he had worked with FIFA since 1975.

His background was in business and sports administration.

A controversial figure, he once claimed Latin American countries would applaud former England captain John Terry for having an affair.

He also drew criticism for interrupting a one-minute’s silence for Nelson Mandela the day after his death.

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In 2015 after a corruption investigation in which the US government indicted several FIFA officials, Blatter announced he would call elections to choose a new president and that he would not stand again.

However, in October 2015 he was suspended for 90 days after it was revealed the previous month that Swiss investigators were looking into Blatter in relation to payments made to Michel Platini.

In December of that year the FIFA ethics committee banned him from taking part in FIFA activities for eight years, though it was reduced to six years in 2016.

In March of this year he received a second six-year ban.

Michel Platini Michel Platini
Michel Platini

Who is Michel Platini?

Michel Platini is a French former football player who enjoyed a hugely successful career. He played for teams such as Juventus and was nicknamed ‘Le Roi’ (the King).

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After retiring as a player he was the French national team coach for four years.

In 2007 he became the first former player to be elected as president of UEFA. He was also chairman of FIFA’s technical and development committee.

In 2015 he was placed under investigation along with Blatter by FIFA’s ethics committee. He was provisionally suspended from any football activity until January 2016. However, in December 2015 this was extended until 2023.

What are they accused of?

Blatter is accused of fraud, misappropriation, mismanagement and forgery. Platini is also accused of fraud, misappropriation, forgery and of participating in mismanagement.

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A summary of the allegations from the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland states that between 1998 and 2002, Michel Platini worked as a consultant for the then FIFA President Joseph Blatter and yearly compensation of 300,000 Swiss Francs (£240,979) was agreed on.

It goes on to say: “This written contract was signed by both Blatter and Platini. The compensation agreed in accordance with this contract was invoiced by Platini on each occasion and paid in full by FIFA.”

Platini is accused of demanding a payment in the amount of CHF 2 million (£1.6m) more than eight years after his work as a consultant.

It is alleged that with Blatter’s involvement, FIFA made a payment to Platini in said amount at the beginning of 2011, and that this was done without a “legal basis”.

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Within the summary of allegations it states: “This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini.”

The OAG will present its conclusions at the hearing before the Federal Criminal Court (FCC).

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