Buenos Aires (Argentina): Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he had witnessed rigged draws for European football competitions using "hot and cold balls," in an interview with an Argentine newspaper published on Monday.
Sepp Blatter gestures during the a FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland last year. pic/Getty Images
Blatter said no draw for a FIFA event had been fixed during his 18 years at the helm, but said he had seen it done for European competitions. "I never touched the balls," said Blatter, referring to the plastic balls containing the teams’ names that are used in draws for events like the World Cup or Champions League.
Draw balls are shuffled during the Champions League draw in Nyon last year. pic/Getty Images
"Of course, you can mark them (by) heating them or cooling them," he told La Nacion. "I witnessed draws at the European level where that happened. But never at FIFA. Of course it can be done."
Pressed for details, Blatter elaborated. "You put the balls in the refrigerator beforehand. Just by comparing one and the other when you touch them you can tell the cold balls from the hot. When you touch them, you know what they are." Blatter, 80, defended himself and FIFA against the corruption accusations that led to the arrest of of top football officials. "Blatter isn’t corrupt.
They tried to find something on me, but they won’t find any (evidence) I violated any Swiss law," said the ex-FIFA boss, who has been suspended from football for six years over a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2 million) to Michel Platini, the former head of European football governing body UEFA."