Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini have been acquitted of corruption by a Swiss court.
Criminal proceedings were first launched back in 2015 over a two-million franc (£1.7m) payment made from FIFA to Platini in 2011.
Blatter, 86, was head of FIFA at the time of the payment, while former France captain Platini, 67, was in charge of UEFA.
Blatter said the payment followed a "gentlemen's agreement" between the pair from when he asked Platini to be his technical adviser in 1998.
Blatter claimed the payment was part of Platini's salary from working as a consultant at FIFA between 1998 and 2002, claiming he had agreed to defer those wages until a later date due to the governing body's financial troubles at the time.
Prosecutors had claimed that Blatter's version of events was an "invention" and accused him of unlawfully arranging for FIFA to pay Platini.
Blatter has now been cleared of fraud by the Federal Criminal Court in the Swiss city of Bellinzona. Platini has also been acquitted of fraud.
The two men had both denied the charges against them.
The payment first came to light following an investigation by the US Department of Justice into bribery, fraud and money-laundering at FIFA in 2015.
The case ended Blatter's 17-year reign as FIFA president and wrecked Platini's hopes of succeeding him in the role.
The pair were handed eight-year bans from all football-related activity in 2015 after being found guilty of ethics-code breaches by FIFA, with their suspensions later reduced to six years.
Platini lost his job as UEFA president as a result of his ban, with Alexander Ceferin later replacing him in the role.
Platini claimed the case was an attempt to thwart his attempt to become the next FIFA president after Blatter, with Gianni Infantino instead elected to the role in 2016.
🗣 "I am clean with my conscience, I am clean with my spirit."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 8, 2022
Sepp Blatter responds to reporters after being cleared of corruption charges by a Swiss court on Friday pic.twitter.com/O59OrzjLYa
Speaking outside the court room after his acquittal on Friday, Blatter said his conscious was clear over the payment to Platini.
"I am not speaking about FIFA, I am not speaking about corruption. I am speaking about me," said Blatter.
"I have done nothing wrong. I am clean with my conscious, I am clean with my spirit."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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