World football’s governing body, FIFA, has launched a legal bid in Switzerland to recover a CHF2 million ($2 million) “undue payment” made by its former president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter to ex-vice president Michel Platini.
The payment was conducted between the two former FIFA executives in 2011 and was instrumental in the duo receiving bans from football activities four years later. Both men have repeatedly denied that they did anything wrong.
Last month, FIFA’s governance committee called for the body to take legal action on the payment, noting that the statute of limitations on the alleged offence would expire at the end of the year.
In a statementexternal link, FIFA said it was “duty-bound” to attempt to recover the money after the Swiss Federal Court had already ruled that it had constituted an “undue payment”.
“If and when successfully recovered, these funds (together with interest) will be fully channelled back into football development, which is where the money should have gone in the first place,” the statement added.
Swiss prosecutors have also opened a criminal investigation covering Blatter’s tenure as FIFA president, which is ongoing but has yet to produce any charges.
FIFA has shown in the past that it is willing to go to the courts to claw back ill-gotten gains from others. In 2016, it issued a writ in New York claiming tens of millions of dollars in damagesexternal link from individuals and entities.