Disgraced FIFA President Sepp Blatter is making the most of his final week atop the organization.
In an interview with BFM TV, Blatter went into detail about the reasons he believed to be behind his toppling. After being reelected to the presidency for a fifth-consecutive year in May 2015, Blatter said he would step down from his post in June amid accusations of corruption and was subsequently suspended, along with Michel Platini, former UEFA president, by FIFA for eight years in December. Blatter is appealing the decision.
The reason for Blatter’s appearance on the show revolves around the upcoming FIFA presidential election, which will take place Feb. 26, in Zurich, Switzerland, in an extraordinary congress. In the interview, Blatter spoke about the various voting members of FIFA that had already reached out to him to ask how they should vote — a not-so-reassuring thought for those hoping the organization can move away from the corruption that has allegedly infested the world’s top ruling soccer federation. He stated that he can not take sides in the upcoming elections.
When it comes to regrets, Blatter would presumably have a laundry list of items, and as it turns out, he does — just not with the items of regret one would think. The 79-year old first took aim at what he believes to have been biased coverage by the media, pinning the blame on FIFA’s executive committee.
“What I regret is the way the media moved in to kill me from the get-go,” Blatter said. “This condemnation of the Fifa president by the media when I was not responsible for the actions of the members of the executive committee since I am not the one who elected them … My regret is, maybe, that we didn’t take the necessary measures to avoid having members of the Fifa executive committee who hadn’t passed the integrity test.”
In addition to the media, Blatter also turned his scorn on the United States, which indicted seven FIFA officials in June for allegedly accepting $150 million in bribes. Blatter said he believes that the decision of the organization to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the United States was a misstep that led to the FBI and IRS to open investigations into FIFA’s dealings.
“World Cups are not awarded because of payments, they’re awarded in relation to political interventions,” he said. “The European group, that had agreed to the tacit deal that the World Cup should go to the U.S., changed its vote after France’s political intervention. So to answer your question, if [the World Cup] had gone to the U.S., we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Blatter would go on to describe his departure is “very sad, very sad,” saying that he does not have any remaining friends at his side.