Former FIFA and UEFA Presidents Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been acquitted of fraud, forgery and mismanagement in a court in Switzerland on Friday.
The trial centered on a payment made by FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, to Platini in 2011. At the time, Platini was President of UEFA, European soccer’s governing body.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) accused both men of unlawfully arranging the payment of 2 million Swiss Francs (current value US $2.05 million).
“I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation,” Platini said in a statement, per Reuters.
“The truth has come to light during this trial,” he added. “I kept saying it: my fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game.”
As Blatter walked into the courtroom to hear the verdict, he told reporters: “I am not innocent in my life, but in this case I am innocent.”
During the trial in June, Blatter claimed the payment to Platini was a paying of salary owed to the Frenchman for some consultancy work done with FIFA between 1998 and 2002.
“It’s a salary that was due. I don’t know why we are in a criminal hearing for an administrative procedure,” said Blatter.
“Platini told me, I’m worth a million and I told him, so you’ll be with me for a million – gentlemen’s agreement,” the 86-year-old continued.
The verdict is the culmination of an investigation which began in 2015.
Following the pair’s acquittal, a FIFA spokesperson said: “FIFA takes note of the verdict of the Court regarding the case opened by the OAG and will await the full reasoned judgment before commenting further.”