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FIFA sues Blatter, Platini for $2m over ‘illicit’ payment

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(FILES) This file photo taken on May 2, 2009 shows then UEFA President Michel Platini looking on during an inauguration ceremony of the ‘Technical and Training Center of the Hungarian Football Federation’ in Telki, some 30 kms north-west from Hungarian capital. – FIFA is to take legal action by the end of the year to force Michel Platini to return 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) he received “illegally” during Sepp Blatter’s reign at world football’s governing body, according to a document seen on December 11, 2019. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

International soccer governing the body, FIFA said yesterday it will seek more than $2 million in reimbursement from its former president, Sepp Blatter and vice president, Mitchel Platini for an illegal payment nearly a decade ago.

FIFA said in its announcement it has filed court documents in Switzerland asking for compensation dating back nearly eight years from Blatter and Platini for $2.04 million paid to Platini in 2011.

The organization said it approached the courts after a unanimous resolution was passed by its Governance Committee.

“If and when successfully recovered, these funds [together with interest] will be fully channeled back into football development, which is where the money should have gone in the first place,” FIFA said in a statement.

“This follows the unanimous resolution recently adopted by the FIFA Governance Committee in which it emphasized that FIFA was duty-bound to try to recover the funds illicitly paid by one former official to another,” the organization said. “Even the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has confirmed that this $2 million gift was to be viewed as an ‘undue payment.’”

The global soccer authority was hit by corruption charges in 2015 with the arrests of several members. It then suspended Blatter, who is also under investigation by Swiss prosecutors in another case.

“Blatter, in his position as president of FIFA, authorized the payment to Platini which had no legal basis,” FIFA said in 2015.

Blatter and Platini were banned from soccer for eight years due to ethics violations stemming from the payment.

Fifa in 2016 banned both men from any soccer-related events for six years following investigations into how Blatter, who ran the organization for nearly two decades, paid the cash to former French national team star Platini.

Blatter and Platini have previously denied wrongdoing, saying the payment fulfilled a verbal contract between the pair for services Frenchman provided to Fifa from 1998 to 2002. Lawyers for the pair weren’t immediately available for comment.
Fifa backed up it’s legal filing by citing Switzerland’s supreme court, which had ruled the 2 million francs as “undue payment.”


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