A crack in Sepp Blatter’s defensive wall
The Swiss acquittals of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini — the former presidents of Fifa and Uefa, respectively — are the latest episodes in a long and sordid tale involving allegations of corruption, kickbacks and kick-offs.
Charges were brought on the grounds that a 2011 payment of 2.2 million Swiss francs from Fifa to Platini, given with Blatter’s blessing, was allegedly a bribe. Blatter & co insisted that the payment was retrospective salary for Platini’s advisory work from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Ultimately, the court found that there was credence to the pair’s version of events, casting doubt on the prosecution’s theory.
In this piece for The Times, Keith Oliver and Peter FitzGerald discuss the charges faced by the pair, the remaining investigations in Switzerland and the US, the position of the Serious Fraud Office so far and ask whether the UK’s apparent choice to remain on the reserve bench for now is a strategic win.