The second phase of FIFA’s internal probe of its own president Sepp Blatter and UEFA boss Michel Platini was activated on Monday, after an initial investigation found there was enough evidence of corruption against the pair to warrant a ‘trial’.
The inquiry has now been handed over to the adjudicatory arm of FIFA’s ethics committee which will deliver its verdict next month. The allegations centre on a $2 million (CHF2 million) transaction from Blatter to Platini in 2011, which has been termed a “disloyal payment” by Switzerland’s Attorney General.
In September, the Attorney General said it was also investigating Blatter for other alleged financial irregularities. Both men have denied wrongdoing, but were suspended for an initial 90 days last month until FIFA’s ethics committee could also get to the bottom of the allegations.
FIFA adjudicators said they would now now act on the recommendation of the investigatory arm of the ethics committee to examine Blatter and Platini. A press release on Monday said it was not appropriate to reveal what sentences the two could expect if found guilty, but media outlets are speculating a possible ban of several years.
Blatter was recently in hospital with a stress-related illness, and told Swiss public television RTS on Monday that he felt near death during his 48 hours of treatment.
Using the type of colourful language now routinely associated with the 79-year-old, Blatter said he had been “between the angels singing and the devil’s fire”. But “it was the angels which sang. Happily, I never lost consciousness,” he said during the interview.