Yohann Tritz (special envoy to Bellinzona), edited by Solène Leroux
1:59 p.m., June 09, 2022
Second day of the trial of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in Switzerland. It is finally this Thursday that the former leader of Fifa testifies. He was due to speak on Wednesday, but at 86, he spoke of health concerns. Sepp Blatter therefore speaks again today, like Michel Platini, to explain why the former UEFA boss received nearly two million Swiss francs from Fifa. These are two highly anticipated hearings after Thursday’s defeats: all defense requests were rejected by the criminal judge.
Michel Platini dares humor
A clear, clean, concise Michel Platini and above all with great confidence displayed during his interrogation. The Frenchman sometimes managed to disconcert the judge on certain answers and even to use a little humor when asked the question ‘why did you ask for two million Swiss francs when on your initial contract, you were entitled to 2.8 million?’. Answer: “I was wrong, it’s my fault, finance is not my thing, it suits them well in addition to FIFA”, triggering laughter in the room.
If he asked for this sum, eight years after leaving his position as technical adviser to Sepp Blatter, it was simply, he says, because he “had seen other members of the Football Association leave their functions with a big check” and not a bribe for his support for the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar.
With disconcerting ease for more than an hour, Michel Platini also insisted on charging his former house, Fifa. In a tirade, Michel Platini turns to the prosecution and protests: “Weird all the same that the case came out in 2015, when I was a candidate for the presidency, while for four years there was nothing had and that this payment was known to all”, pointing to, without naming him, the current boss of Gianni Infantino.
Fifa lawyers, who incidentally tried to question Sepp Blatter, heard first, then Platini. But they remained unanswered. “I won’t talk to them, not after the way I was treated. I just hope there will be justice one day,” concluded the former number ten of the Blues.
The prosecution, headed by Me Hohl-Chirazi, thus begins this new day with points in advance. “At this point, what I observe is that the Federal Criminal Court has rejected all the preliminary questions, both from Mr. Platini and from Mr. Blatter,” she said. The court “confirmed its jurisdiction to judge them, and recognized FIFA’s status as plaintiff”, she continued.
Olivier Thormann expected at the helm
Michel Platini does not admit defeat, however, and is patiently awaiting the next crucial days of the trial, as he said through his lawyer, Dominic Nellen: “There will be important witnesses in the coming days. Go see what they file. We await the court’s decision with a lot of positivity.”
Other witnesses are expected at the bar this Thursday, such as magistrate Olivier Thormann. It was he who orchestrated the investigations against Sepp Blatter and Fifa at the time. He is suspected of being close to a former collaborator of the world football body. But above all, he now works at the Criminal Court of Bellinzona, Switzerland, the current place of the trial. The defense tried to challenge him, but to no avail.