Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud by Swiss prosecutors following a six-year investigation into a CHF2million (£1.5m) payment.
The Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) said the payment, arranged by Blatter to be paid by FIFA to Platini, was made without legal basis and “damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini”.
Prosecutors launched the case in 2015, in a move which effectively terminated Blatter’s FIFA presidency ahead of schedule, and led Platini, then president of UEFA, to withdraw from the race to be his successor.
Both men were placed under investigation by the FIFA Ethics Commission, which subsequently found them guilty of ethics violations and banned each from football for eight years.
Blatter and Platini had argued that the payment had been agreed orally and in lieu of work done by Platini in an advisory capacity between 1998 and 2002.
In a statement, the OAG said: “[T]he OAG’s investigation has revealed the following: between 1998 and 2002, Michel Platini worked as a consultant for the then FIFA President Joseph Blatter.
“In 1999, an annual compensation of CHF 300,000 was agreed upon in a written contract for this advisory activity. This written contract was signed by both Blatter and Platini. The compensation agreed in accordance with this contract was invoiced by Platini on each occasion and paid in full by FIFA.
“Over eight years after the termination of his advisory activity, Platini demanded a payment in the amount of CHF 2 million.
“With Blatter’s involvement, FIFA made a payment to Platini in said amount at the beginning of 2011. The evidence gathered by the OAG has corroborated that this payment to Platini was made without a legal basis.
“This payment damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini. In the view of the OAG, the accused have committed the offences listed above.”
Blatter, 85, has been charged with fraud, mismanagement, misappropriation of FIFA funds and forgery of a document.
Platini has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, forgery and as an accomplice to Blatter’s alleged mismanagement.
In the next stage of the procedure, Swiss prosecutors will present their case against Blatter and Platini before the country’s Federal Criminal Court.