Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini-Image Credit-Getty Images

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini

Many of you will have heard this latest story about Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. In case you haven’t though, or would like to read it again, have a look at this article HERE. In short, the Dynamic Duo have been charged with fraud. To football fans everywhere, how incredible is that. Or maybe to some, it isn’t so incredible. The two main leaders of the sport we all love charged with fraud. Is it any wonder football fans everywhere despair at times and have a right old moan about the “powers that be.”

At this stage, it must be said that they have only been charged so far. They have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing as yet. This of course will be decided at their upcoming trial. But what fraud charges have Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini been accused of?

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini-Image Credit-Getty Images
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini-Image Credit-Getty Images
To be completely accurate, they have been charged with fraud and other offences. Exactly what these “other offences” are is not known at this stage. So, we could find a whole array of other charges. Do these charges tarnish the game in any way though? Of course they do. Without a shadow of a doubt. Let’s have a look at some of the charges in a bit more detail shall we.

Swiss prosecutors say Mr Blatter unlawfully arranged a transfer of two million Swiss francs ($2.19m; £1.6m) to Mr Platini in 2011.

The prosecutors say the payment “damaged Fifa’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini”.

They will now both face trial at a court in Bellinzona.

If they are to be found guilty of the charges, the pair could receive prison sentences of several years or fines.

The case for the prosecution was opened in September 2015 after Fifa, football’s world governing body, was plagued by accusations of corruption – seemingly on a widespread scale. Fifa’s ethics committee launched an investigation which saw both men banned from the game and, as a result, they were also forced to leave their positions.

These allegations ended Blatter’s 17-year spell in charge of Fifa and Mr Platini’s plans to succeed his former mentor. A year later, in 2016, Mr Platini was forced to resign as president of Uefa, Europe’s football governing body, after losing an appeal against his ban. Both Blatter, who is aged 85, and Platini, aged 66, have denied any wrongdoing.

The Sleazy World Of Brown Envelopes

The term ‘brown envelopes’ is just that – a term. It is often used to describe any shady type of monies paid to someone. Is anyone surprised though to learn of ‘brown envelopes’ payments being made in football? Probably not. After all, three prominent players, as long ago as in the early 60’s were banned for life for match fixing scandals. Peter Swan, David ‘Bronco’ Layne and Tony Kay, as well as several other players were sent to prison and banned for life from participating in football after these match fixing scandals.

Peter Swan and David Layne later successfully appealed against their bans in 1972 and Tony Kay successfully appealed against his in 1973. Swan and Layne returned to football, but Kay didn’t. When you read the full story behind it HERE, it does make you think. There were quite a few involved and several matches were targeted. The three players I mentioned were the big names involved as they were top flight players at the time.

The irony of it all being was the game that was fixed was Sheffield Wednesday (the club the 3 played for) against Ipswich Town. It was a game that Ipswich won, and Tony Kay was actually named man of the match.

Were these flurry of games in the 60’s isolated occasions? The match fixing mention is different to the Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini story, but it goes to show that shady goings on do (or may) happen in football. I could mention some others, but I’ll park it there as I’m sure you are getting the drift.

Tony Kay Side Story

Although Tony Kay was banned from football, his ban was lifted in 1973. But he didn’t return to professional football. He did for a while afterwards live in Spain. And it was while he was in Spain that I met him. I didn’t know who he was, but he turned out against us in a friendly match while a crowd of us lads were on holiday in Benidorm.

Our travel rep, who used to have long, curly, permed locks like so many of the footballers of that era, asked our group if any of us played football. When enough of us to make a team said we did, he suggested we play a game. So, he told us the location and we all turned up at a small stadium with a shale, dusty pitch. We were all wearing an assortment of t-shirts, shorts and trainers.

Their team arrived and they had a proper kit basket with all the works. A kit man even. In the dressing room before the game, I’m standing next to the door and this smallish fella walked in asking if anyone had a spare pair of trainers. He looked like he was probably early to mid 40’s (this was in 1982 by the way). One of our lads fortunately had a spare pair. As we were all a lot younger and as he looked a fair bit older….and he was playing in borrowed trainers, I asked him where he was playing. He said, “centre midfield.” I jokingly replied, “great, so am I. Easy game for me lads” as I put a friendly arm around his shoulders.

What A Player

That turned out to be the last of the friendly exchanges until the game finished. So, our opponents took to the pitch in all matching kit and looking the part. The one that stood out before a ball was kicked as a potential weak link, was the “little fella in his borrowed trainers,” who looked about 20 years older than everyone else.

Potential weak link!!! Wow, what a misguided assessment that turned out to be. In the first couple of minutes and my first real involvement of taking a bit of “foot on” meaningful action, I knocked a pass out wide to our overlapping full-back. After I released the ball, I felt a full blooded whack on the back of my legs and a hearty shove in the back. I turned around to see it was the ‘little fella.’

Any time they had the ball, he demanded it in any situation. In space, “I’ll have it.” Tightly marked, “I’ll have it.” And, as instructed, all his team mates knew what to do. Just give him the ball. After the first few exchanges it was obvious that this ‘little fella’ had played a bit.

Anyway, we ended up losing 5-1 and the ‘little fella’ was MOM by a country mile. That was despite our travel rep, with the curly, long locks and the wearer of brightly coloured, fluorescent, one piece jump suits with matching head bands scoring a hat-trick. I mention his attire because in the few days pre-match, there was a fair bit of banter flying around in the hotel.

Lime Green Jump Suit

“Him in the lime green jump suit with matching headband and the Kevin Keegan mop won’t be any good. He doesn’t look like a player.” Wrong!! He kept it quiet, but our travel rep happened to be on the books of Preston and Blackpool as a youngster. In other words, he was good.

As good as he was though, the ‘little fella’ was still MOM in our eyes. As I’m walking off the pitch after the hand shakes at the end, I congratulated him on his performance. While adding, “you’ve obviously played a bit.” To which he said quite modestly, “yes, you could say that.”

“Who have you played for?” I enquired. “Oh, Sheffield Wednesday, Everton and…….England” he replied somewhat sheepishly.

“Wow!!! What’s your name?” You can guess the rest. It was a great experience though. And I still had the bruises for days after!!!

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini – More Details

But anyway, back on the subject of this article. Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. You can read the full story of the charges and the history behind it HERE. They may be found not guilty in due course. But, how, or why, are they in this position in the first place.

I’ve long since been mentioning that football has gone at the highest level when it comes to it being a truly, enjoyable, sporting spectacle. That’s not me being naive by the way. Or negative. I could write long articles on some of the ills of the game. In fact, I have mentioned a few on occasions in previous posts. Kick-off times, TV companies, FFP, rich countries effectively taking over Premier League clubs, referees needing to be accountable are just a few topics that I have written about.

This Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini saga may well rumble on. If they are found guilty, who knows? An appeal? Whatever the outcome, the whole episode is another black mark on the integrity on football at the highest level.

Not a big scandal, but I wonder if my mate got his trainers back from Tony Kay?

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