Berlin: Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the Ethics Committee investigation into corruption allegations is "like a Catholic Inquisition". Blatter again denied involvement in corruption and said he should not have trusted officials at football's world body.
Sepp Blatter. Pic/AFP
"What I can say about myself: I am an honest person, and I've had too much confidence," Blatter told German broadcaster ARD. The 79-year-old has again been in the spotlight with a BBC claim that he was aware of corrupt practises within FIFA. A BBC investigation broadcast this week alleged that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has evidence which casts doubt on Blatter's denials that he knew about $100 million in bribes paid by sports marketing company ISL to FIFA officials during the 1990s in return for television rights deals. Blatter has been suspended by FIFA's ethics committee since October after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into alleged criminal mismanagement at FIFA during Blatter's tenure.
The Swiss told German broadcaster ARD he is "appalled" by FIFA's Ethics Committee which has sought sanctions against Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, who is also suspended by FIFA. "This prejudice and probing questioning - it's almost like an old Catholic Inquisition," said Blatter, who could face a life-time ban. "I am disappointed and occasionally sad, but not bitter.
"Bitterness brings jealousy, that brings hatred and hatred helps no one in life." Part of the Swiss investigation into Blatter is a $2 million payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011 for work the Frenchman did a decade earlier. The two have acknowledged there was no written contract but that they had an oral accord. Blatter said he takes no responsibility for FIFA's accounts and that officials at the world body had committed the offences. "I trust people, and the trust has been abused, but I did not know how it was abused. I'm not a FIFA accountant."