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Ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini to head to court on Thursday

Ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini to head to court on Thursday

Both men were banned from football in 2015 after being indicted in November 2014. According to Swiss authorities, Blatter paid Platini a bribe of 2 million Swiss francs (N849 million) in 2011.

They however, denied the accusations, alleging that the transfer was a late payment for the former French footballer-turned UEFA president. Platini had between 1998 and 2002, worked in a consultancy capacity for FIFA.

Earlier on Wednesday, Blatter and Platini’s attorneys failed to get the trial moved to a local court or dismiss FIFA’s legal claim for the 2 million Swiss francs.

Speaking at a Swiss court hearing on Wednesday, Blatter stated that he was unable to testify due to chest problems.

“The pain will come back and I am having difficulty breathing,” the 86-year-old ex-football supremo said in a low voice.

Blatter was then allowed by the presiding judges to return to the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona on Thursday to testify.

Blatter had prior the hearing, stated that he was cheerful and in a good mood, and walked into the courtroom with a stoop and his daughter Corinne on his arm.

“I know I have not done anything against the law,” he stated outside the courtroom. “My life was football, for 45 years with FIFA.”

Platini on his end, expressed confidence and quipped that he would have to brush up on his German to keep up with the proceedings.

“We will prove in court that I acted with the utmost honesty,” he said in a statement before the hearing. “The payment of the remaining salary was due to me by FIFA and is perfectly legal.”

The trial will last until June 22nd. On July 8, a decision is expected. Platini and Blatter may face up to five years in prison if convicted. Both have denied wrongdoing and claim they had a verbal agreement over the payment.

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