The Swiss Federal Criminal Court, on Friday, acquitted former FIFA president Joseph Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini in a fraud trial.
The duo were both cleared of corruption charges. The 86-year-old Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, was cleared of fraud. Platini was also acquitted of fraud.
The embattled football chiefs had denied the corruption charges against them.
Both of them had been charged by federal prosecutors in Switzerland with defrauding FIFA in connection with a payment of two million Swiss francs (2.07 million dollars) made to Platini. The Frenchman had received the money from FIFA in 2011 for work done as a consultant between 1998 and 2002.
The Swiss probe started in 2015 after a search at the FIFA headquarters on general corruption suspicion, with Platini was originally only listed as a witness.
Blatter had, however, claimed that he had a verbal agreement with Platini before the payment was made, saying FIFA at the time couldn’t full pay the Frenchman because of financial problems.
Both officials were banned from football for eight years in 2015 over the payment, although their bans were later reduced.
Platini had spoken of a politically-motivated case which ended his ambition to take over from Blatter as FIFA president, a position now held by former UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino.
Speaking after they were both cleared of corruption, Platini said: “I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation,”
He added that his “fight” is a fight against injustice, saying he only won a first game.
“The truth has come to light in this trial,” he said, vowing “we will meet again”.
He added that he would “go all the way in my quest for the truth” because “there are culprits who did not appear during this trial.”