Sepp Blatter, former FIFA President currently banned from soccer for six years, on Tuesday ( 15 March) blamed others for the woes of soccer’s governing body, saying it was easier to “take a gun” to him, the head of the organisation at the time.
FIFA now has a new president in Gianni Infantino. Blatter and UEFA boss Michel Platini have since been banned for ethics violations relating to a FIFA payment to Platini, approved by Blatter.
Earlier investigations by Swiss authorities and the U.S. FBI into allegations of corruption and irregularities in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups resulted in a series of arrests of FIFA officials.
Speaking to China’s state television CCTV in Zurich, the 80-year-old Swiss suggested those arrested had no direct connection with FIFA.
“When you look now backwards, what the American authorities have done so far, they have arrested about 24 or 26 people. But all these people are American people from North or South America, and they have committed, if ever, they are not condemned if not yet sanctioned, they have done their activities not in direct connection with FIFA but with the confederations. But nobody will understand that because finally, you are the president of the organisation, you are the head, then it’s easier to, up to take the gun,” Blatter said in the interview.
Blatter portrayed FIFA’s selection of the venue for a World Cup tournament as decided by outside forces or by merit but he denied a World Cup could be had for money.
“Listen, I am not the moralist of those that take decisions. Secondly, I answered questions if a World Cup can be bought. You cannot buy a World Cup, then all the World Cups so far now in FIFA for 41 years, the decision finally was always made by political interference, recommendation or pushing. And I don’t speak about money because I never put any government into a bad situation,” he said.
Blatter called for an end to criticism of the 2022 World Cup which was awarded to Qatar. The Swiss and FBI investigations into the awarding of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups continue.
“I don’t know who will stop this Qatar World Cup,” said Blatter. “When we have taken this decision of the executive committee, and there is no evidence that something is wrong,” he said.