International

Blatter: 'I am prejudged'

2015-10-07 18:13
Sepp Blatter. (AFP)

Berlin - FIFA president Joseph Blatter feels prejudged in connection with a Swiss criminal probe against him and reiterated he will not quit at the top of the ruling football body until February.

"The situation is not pleasant. I am prejudged without any evidence of any kind of wrongdoing from my side. That is really quite outrageous," Blatter told German magazine Bunte in a report made available ahead of Thursday's publication and published in excerpts on their website.

Blatter, 79, is suspected of "criminal mismanagement as well as - alternatively - on suspicion of misappropriation" by Swiss authorities in connection with a payment to the Caribbean football union and a "disloyal payment" to UEFA boss Michel Platini.

Blatter and Platini, the leading candidate to succeed him, are also reportedly under investigation by the FIFA ethics committee. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

FIFA has been hit hard by corruption allegations in football, with US authorities also investigating.

Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term on May 29 but said four days later he would give up his mandate at an extraordinary FIFA congress which has now been set for February 26.

The latest events have led to wide-ranging calls for his immediate resignation, including from major FIFA sponsors and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, but Blatter insisted he would not quit.

"This is an investigation, not charges. I am dealing with the proceedings and cooperating with the authorities," he said.

"I am well, I will get through it. FIFA still functions well and the elected president remains in office."

"I assure you that I will stop on February 26. That is the definite end. But not a day earlier," Blatter said, vowing he will continue to fight "for myself. For FIFA. I am convinced that evil will come to light and good will prevail."

De Maiziere however joined a long list of others who urged Blatter to quit immediately and called for a thorough reform of FIFA and its structures.

"I am reluctant as a politician to comment on internal matters at international federations. But here a situation has been reached that does not allow to wait until February," he told dpa.

Blatter also faced further trouble Wednesday when South Korean FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong Joon was quoted as naming him "a liar and hypocrite" at a conference in London and saying he would sue Blatter in Swiss courts for embezzlement.

Chung says he is under investigation by the ethics committee as well, with the former FIFA vice-president saying Tuesday FIFA is trying to sabotage his bid.

Another contender is Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who lost out against Blatter in May.

South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale, a businessman and politician imprisoned in the past alongside Nelson Mandela, is also mentioned and pondering a candidacy.

"I haven't ruled anything in, I've not ruled anything out. I'm thinking. But what is thinking? It's consulting friends, it's talking to people," he told the BBC.

Read more on:    fifa  |  fifa bribery scandal  |  sepp blatter  |  soccer

 

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