Fifa prepares to sue Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter to get £1.5m back
Fifa is preparing to sue its former president Sepp Blatter and former Uefa president Michel Platini for a return of the 2m Swiss francs (£1.5m) paid to Platini in 2011, which led to the long bans of both men from being involved in football. Fifa’s governance committee passed a resolution last month that as the money has not been repaid, despite it having been ruled an “undue payment” in proceedings of the ethics committee, Fifa should initiate legal proceedings against both Blatter and Platini.
Blatter and Platini, the former France playing legend who was considered his certain successor as Fifa president before his fall, were banned from football in December 2015 for eight years over the payment, later reduced on appeals to six and four years respectively. Both men had said that it was outstanding under an oral agreement, outside the terms of the written contract, from Platini’s time working for Fifa, which had ended nine years earlier in 2002. That explanation was rejected by Fifa’s ethics committee, which considered it had no basis in contract and was an illicit “gift” or “undue payment” according to the ethics code.Fifa’s governance committee stated in its resolution that as well as the outstanding 2m, Platini has not paid the fine imposed on him, which was reduced to 60,000 Swiss francs from 80,000 by the court of arbitration for sport, nor legal costs of 22,000.
Both men appealed their bans to Cas which upheld the finding that the 2m payment was not contractually valid, the three professors of law in Platini’s case noting that they were “not convinced by the legitimacy of the … payment”. Platini and Blatter have continued to maintain that they did nothing wrong, and on the eve of Fifa’s congress in Paris in June, Platini told the Guardian that he is taking a series of legal actions relating to his ban, including to the European court of human rights.A criminal investigation into the payment announced in September 2015 by the Swiss attorney general has not produced any charges, nor formally concluded, the committee said. Noting that any claim for return of the money expires under Swiss law at the end of this year, the committee, chaired by Mukul Mudgal, a retired Indian high court judge, unanimously recommended that Fifa’s administration begin proceedings to have the money repaid.
The representatives of both Blatter and Platini have been approached for comment.