FIFA wants its money back.
The governing body for world soccer filed claims in Swiss courts on Monday in an attempt to recover the CHF 2 million ($2.01 million) “illicitly paid” by former FIFA President Sepp Blatter to former FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini in February 2011.
Platini, a three-time European Footballer of the Year, was originally suspended for eight years by FIFA for accepting the payment agreed verbally with Blatter and executed after the vote to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. Many believe Blatter was paying off Platini for his help in landing Qatar the World Cup. Both men deny that, saying it was for Platini’s work as an adviser for FIFA up until 2002. Blatter was also banned by FIFA for the payment.
Platini’s eight-year ban was reduced to six years by a FIFA appeals committee and then reduced to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May 2016. He quit his position as UEFA President after the CAS ruling and completed his four-year ban in October.
Blatter left his post in disgrace four years ago. He was later banned for eight years by FIFA, though the penalty was reduced to six years. His attempt to get the ban reduced further was denied by CAS.
In a statement on Monday, FIFA noted “Even the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has confirmed that this CHF 2 million gift was to be viewed as an “undue payment” and said it “was duty-bound to try to recover the funds”.
The federation added that if it does get the money back, all of the funds, together with interest, would be put into football development “which is where the money should have gone in the first place”.