Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini cleared of fraud in Swiss trial

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and France footballing legend Michel Platini were both cleared of corruption charges by a Swiss court on Friday.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, was cleared of fraud by the Federal Criminal Court in the southern city of Bellinzona.

Platini, a former France national team captain and manager, was also acquitted of fraud.

The two, once among the most powerful figures in global soccer, had denied the charges against them.

Prosecutors had accused Blatter, a Swiss who led global soccer body FIFA for 17 years, and Platini, of unlawfully arranging for FIFA to pay the Frenchman two million Swiss francs ($2.06 million) in 2011.

The case meant Blatter ended his reign as FIFA president in disgrace and it wrecked Platini’s hopes of succeeding him after he was banned from football when the affair came to light.

Blatter, 86, had said the two-million franc payment followed a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the pair when he asked Platini to be his technical adviser in 1998.

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