Thursday, October 6, 2022

Blatter illness delays Blatter-Platini trial

The start of the trial of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini has been delayed by a day after Blatter said he was too ill to testify.
Once the most powerful men in world football, the pair were due to go on trial on Wednesday accused of fraud.
But Blatter told a court hearing in Switzerland that he is unable to testify because of chest pains.
“The pain will come back and I am having difficulty breathing,” said the 86-year-old in a whisper.
Judges at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona allowed Blatter, former president of world football’s governing body Fifa, to make his testimony on Thursday.
Swiss prosecutors claim a 2011 payment of 2m Swiss francs (£1.6m) made by Blatter to Platini, ex-president of European football’s governing body Uefa, was unlawful.
Both men deny wrongdoing and say the transfer was belated payment to former France captain Platini, 66, for his advisory work for Fifa between 1998 and 2002.
The pair were banned from football in 2015 and indicted in November last year.
Earlier on Wednesday, lawyers for Blatter and Platini failed to move the trial to a local court or dismiss Fifa’s civil claim against them to recoup the 2m Swiss francs.
The trial is due to conclude on June 22, with a verdict expected on July 8.
If found guilty, the defendants could be jailed for up to five years or fined.
Accused of fraud
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has accused Blatter and Platini of “fraud, in the alternative of misappropriation, in the further alternative of criminal mismanagement as well as of forgery of a document.
Platini, the former UEFA president who as a player captained France to victory in the 1984 European Championship, was also charged as an accomplice.
Blatter, 85, and Platini, 66, were both banned in 2016 from football for six years over the payment, made with Blatter’s approval for work done a decade earlier.
“FIFA has brought a civil action against both Blatter and Platini to have the money which was illegally misappropriated repaid to FIFA so it can be used for the sole purpose for which it was originally intended: football,” said FIFA’s lawyer Catherine Hohl-Chirazi.