Blatter hits back at critics

2015-05-12 18:12
Sepp Blatter (AFP)

Zurich - In a rare interview with a free Swiss daily newspaper during his re-election campaign, FIFA President Sepp Blatter claims he has tried to "tame the monster" of soccer's success during his 17-year reign.

Blatter told Tuesday's edition of free Swiss daily 20 Minutes that his presidency benefited from a boom in soccer's finances and development fueled by television rights deals.

Blatter said predecessor Joao Havelange once told him: "Sepp, you created a monster."

In reply, Blatter said he told Havelange: "Yes, but I try to tame the monster."

Blatter cited a German magazine's estimate that 1.6 billion people are linked to playing, organizing and following soccer.

The power of the sport is "wonderful even if at the same time it's scary," said the FIFA president, who has seen the governing body's income top $2 billion for the first time in 2014.

The daily newspaper reports that questions about the May 29 election were not allowed for its interview, tied to a FIFA-promoted youth tournament which kicks off Wednesday in Zurich.

"I am the president and not a candidate," Blatter said. "This is why I don't want to speak about this vote."

The 79-year-old Swiss is expected to get win again. He currently has three opponents — Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, Luis Figo of Portugal and Michael van Praag of the Netherlands — though at least one is expected to stand aside before the ballot.

Blatter distanced himself from the disgraced Havelange when asked by 20 Minutes why he had not prepared a successor, as the Brazilian did for him before his first victory in 1998.

Havelange "never trained a successor," said Blatter, adding that "the successor built himself."

Now 99, Havelange led FIFA for 24 years before becoming honorary president. He resigned that title in 2013 ahead of a FIFA ethics committee's judgment on him receiving millions of dollars in kickbacks from World Cup marketing contracts.

Blatter said Tuesday that, if elected for a fifth time on May 29, he would have "four years to prepare the future."

Asked if FIFA would remain in Zurich beyond his reign, Blatter said no one wanted the governing body to leave.

"Believe me, the delegates are very gladly come to Switzerland," Blatter said. "Switzerland is a paradise."

Read more on:    fifa  |  sepp blatter  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.