Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter was deemed to have been "reckless" by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the CHF2 million (£1.6 million/$2 million/€1.8 million) payment he made to Michel Platini.
Blatter failed in an appeal to CAS against his six-year ban from all footballing activity back in December.
The Swiss, head of the governing body for 17 years until he stepped down in 2015 in the wake of the worst corruption scandal in the organisation’s history, was originally suspended for eight years along with ex-UEFA President Platini in December 2015.
The duo both had their respective bans reduced from eight to six years by FIFA’s Appeals Committee last February, leaving the CAS as the only remaining legal option.
They were sanctioned for an alleged "disloyal" payment of CHF2 million (£1.6 million/$2 million/€1.8 million) made by Blatter to Platini in 2011.
The full CAS ruling, published today, deemed that there had been no verbal agreement or valid contract concerning the backdated payment.
Both men had denied any wrongdoing and said the money was for work Platini carried out for FIFA between 1998 and 2002, when he served as a technical adviser to Blatter.
However, the Frenchman did not receive his money until 2011 and question marks were raised over the time delay.
"The Panel believes that the truth lies in Mr Blatter’s statement that he thought it was a debt that needed to be paid," read the CAS ruling, which was reached by three judges
"Although Mr Blatter may well have been truthful in this belief, that he thought there was a debt of some kind, the fact is that this was not a debt of FIFA and FIFA did not owe the CHF2 million to Mr Platini.
"Since there was no obligation for FIFA to pay this amount to Mr Platini, the Panel finds that the payment cannot be denominated otherwise than a gift, regardless of why Mr Blatter considered he had a debt to Mr Platini.
"The Panel considers Mr 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 CAS panel also deemed that Blatter had bypassed the FIFA Executive Committee when he extended Platini’s pension plan by four years.
Platini had joined the Executive Committee back in 2003, with their pension scheme rewarding each year of service.
The panel found that Blatter had unlawfully created a pension plan for Platini in 2015, which supported the Frenchman’s requests to have begun in 1998.
"The credit awarded to Mr Platini therefore certainly amounted to a gift as he was not entitled to such credit," the ruling read.
"Although the Panel accepts that Mr Platini had apparently attended all the FIFA Executive Committee meetings between 1998 and 2002, the fact remains that he was not a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and that there is no evidence on file proving that the exception to be made for Mr Platini was discussed in the FIFA Executive Committee."
Rather than the CHF1.5 million (£1.2 million/$1.5 million/€1.4 million) due to be given to Platini, the new fund would give him CHF2.6 million (£2.1 million/$2.6 million/€2.4 million).