Platini was worth every centime, former Fifa boss Blatter tells Swiss fraud trial

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Sepp Blatter, who for nearly two decades ruled as the most powerful administrator in world football, insisted on Thursday that Michel Platini, one of his most illustrious advisors, justified his massive fees.

Blatter, the boss of Fifa between 1998 and 2015, told a Swiss court that he could not understand why he was on trial for fraud with Platini, who skippered the France team during the mid 1980s.

The pair face charges over a two million Swiss franc payment in 2011 to Platini who was in charge of European football's governing body Uefa following a career in which he won the Ballon d'Or - the sports most prestigious individual award - on three occasions.

"I just had this man on my team and he was worth his million," said 86-year-old Blatter who had been unable to give evidence during the openiong day on Wednesday after saying he was feeling too frail.

"When I was elected as president of Fifa, we had a bad record. But I thought that a man who had been in football could help us – Fifa and myself," Blatter told the court.

"Platini told me: 'I'm worth a million'. I told him: 'So you'll be with me for a million,'"

Prosecutors accuse Blatter of having signed off an invoice for two million Swiss francs presented to Fifa by Platini in 2011, almost nine years after his work had ended as Blatter's adviser.

Signatures

The federal criminal court in the southern city of Bellinzona was told the men had never signed a contract providing for such a salary

Blatter told the hearing that a gentleman's agreement with Platini would ensure the balance would be eventually settled when Fifa's finances allowed it. The deal was struck without witnesses not any signatures.

"It's a salary that was due," Blatter said.

"I don't know why we are in a criminal hearing for an administrative procedure," the 86-year-old added.

Blatter and 66-year-old Platini say that they had, from the outset, orally agreed to an annual salary of one million francs. But during his time as Blatter's right hand man between 1998 and 2002 he received around 300,000 francs – a contract that was paid in full by Fifa.

The men insist that they had, from the outset, orally agreed to an annual salary of one million francs.

Both are accused of fraud and forgery of a document. Blatter is accused of misappropriation and criminal mismanagement, while Platini is accused of participating in those offences.

The trial will conclude on 22 June and the panel of three judges is expected to deliver its verdict on 8 July.

If convicted, the pair could face up to five years in jail or receive a fine.

The hearing continues.

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