Lausanne - Sepp Blatter was
"reckless" when he paid $2 million to Michel Platini in a transaction
that led both to be banned from world soccer, according to a Court of
Arbitration for Sport ruling.
The former FIFA president
also bypassed the body's executive committee to extend Platini's pension plan
by four years - unlawfully adding more than $1 million to the former UEFA
president's retirement fund.
Details of the hearing in
August were revealed in a newly published 68-page verdict written by CAS judges
to explain why they dismissed Blatter's appeal to overturn a six-year ban in
As an executive committee
member since 2002, Platini was due a pension of 3 percent of his final FIFA
stipend - $300 000 in 2015 when he was first banned - for each year of service.
It would be paid annually for an equal number of years. By unilaterally
supporting Platini's request to start the plan in 1998, Blatter unlawfully
created a pension fund for his former protégé of $2.6 million in 2015 instead
of $1.52 million, the judges noted.
"The credit awarded to
Mr. Platini therefore certainly amounted to a gift as he was not entitled to
such credit," the three judges said, concluding that a six-year ban for
the now 81-year-old Blatter is "not disproportionate and, indeed,
reasonable and fair."
"The standard of
ethical conduct required under the (FIFA code of ethics) should be and should
be seen to be applied to the FIFA President as rigorously as if not more
rigorously than that applied to anyone else," the CAS panel wrote.
The full judgment confirms
details never published by the FIFA ethics and appeals committees which
previously judged Blatter, the long-time president, and Platini, his expected
Three separate judging
panels agreed there was no verbal agreement or valid contract for Platini to
receive backdated salary in 2011 for working as Blatter's presidential adviser
from 1998-2002. The soccer officials said they agreed Platini should get 1
million Swiss francs annually, but later signed a contract for $300 000 to
ensure he did not earn more than FIFA's then secretary general.
Platini asked for $2
million - not the $2.8 million he was allegedly owed, the court noted - in 2010
"upon learning of 'golden parachutes' received by (former senior FIFA
officials) Urs Linsi and Jerome Champagne," the CAS ruling said.
"(Platini) went to see
either the Secretary General or Finance Director of FIFA to say 'you know FIFA
owes me money,'" the ruling said.
By helping force Champagne
out of FIFA as Blatter's trusted international relations director, Platini
indirectly earned the French former diplomat a seven-figure severance for his
January 2010 exit.
The ruling stated that
Blatter testified to recalling his verbal deal with Platini, but had
"forgotten that they had a written contract (in 1999)."
"The Panel considers
Blatter's conduct in the matter as FIFA president reckless, or at least
profoundly careless, as he approved the payment without checking the written
contract, without asking his employees for the written contract to be checked or
doing any verification whatsoever," the judges said.
Platini, who attended the
hearing as a witness, also seemed not to check his contract before requesting
money that was paid in 2011, when Blatter was campaigning to win re-election.
"Mr. Platini said that
he had not realised he had made a mistake about how much money was owed to him
until the Swiss prosecutor showed him a copy of the August 1999 contract in
September 2015," the court said.
Swiss federal police
questioned Blatter and Platini at FIFA, one day after opening proceedings
against the FIFA president for suspected criminal mismanagement. Platini was
described then as "between a witness and an accused person."
Blatter has not been
formally charged by Switzerland's attorney general. He is also a stated target
of an American federal investigation of corruption linked to FIFA officials.
Platini is serving a
four-year ban after winning a two-year cut in his sanction from a separate CAS
panel. The ban removed the former France national team captain from the UEFA
presidency and the February 2016 election race to succeed Blatter.
In the ruling, CAS also
noted the "habitual" bonus culture of FIFA at the time of the World
Cup hosting votes in December 2010, when Russia was awarded the 2018 tournament
and Qatar was given the 2022 edition.
Two days before the vote in
Zurich, the FIFA finance committee approved a $200 000 annual bonus for each
executive committee member to supplement then-stipends of $100 000, according