Sepp Blatter has either officially lost the plot, or he’s just gone on a rant and has decided to spill the beans.
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Either way, the outcome is mind-boggling.
In an in-depth Q&A with Russia outlet TASS released on Wednesday, Blatter has got plenty off his chest as the outgoing president of FIFA lashed out at Michel Platini — who along with him is currently suspended from FIFA due to an unexplained payment of $1.9 million between the pair — and gave several juicy bits of news including where the 2018 and 2022 World Cups should have been held and also hit out at FIFA’s own Ethics Committee before stating, and I quote, that: “If God is with me, I do hope that I’ll be back as president of FIFA.”
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The seven candidates to become the new FIFA president and end Blatter’s 17-year reign — which had been dogged by controversy with current investigations ongoing from the Swiss and U.S. authorities into widespread allegations of corruption — were announced on Wednesday and the Swiss official would officially hand over the reins on Feb. 26, 2016 when the FIFA congress is held and a new president is announced. Blatter is not an official candidate but somehow believes he can still be president… Blatter also contradicts himself multiple times when saying that FIFA is not a commercial company and then, well, saying it is, and seems to be all over the place with his answers.
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Here’s is the excerpt from the interview where Blatter seems to reveal that before the voting process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups had even taken place back in 2010, FIFA had already decided that the 2018 World Cup would take place in Russia and the 2022 World Cup would take place in the USA. That was until the Platini got involved and Qatar ousted the U.S. at the eleventh hour.
Do you think it was a mistake to simultaneously hold the elections of both 2018 and 2022 World Cups in 2010?
In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers. And everything was good until the moment when Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). And at a lunch afterwards with Mr. Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been twelve to ten. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA.
Defending himself throughout the Q&A and launching plenty of scathing attacks against his close friend and the president of UEFA and current FIFA presidential candidates, Platini, it is all getting a bit messy as many of the claims Blatter makes defy belief.
Here’s another excerpt on the “envy and jealousy” Platini feels towards him.
Why does Platini dislike you? You probably had a more or less reasonable relationship with each other some years ago. And then suddenly what went wrong?
You will have to ask him and we will know. Because he wanted to be FIFA president. But he had not the courage to go as the president. And now we are in such a situation in football. But FIFA is working well. FIFA is carrying out competitions and all development programs. FIFA is so well organized that even big opponents in Germany have to say that FIFA is better organized than the German football. Since I became president of FIFA, we have made FIFA a big commercial company. And this naturally provokes envy and jealousy.
It is clear that while Blatter is currently suspended for 90-days by his own organization for this alleged unexplained payment to Platini, he will go out of his way to throw as many people under the bus as he can to try and salvage his reputation… if that is even possible at this point.
Blatter also hit out at the very ethics committee he set up and gave this rather unbelievable assessment of how they should operate.
The irony is that both you and Platini are suspended from football activities for three months.
It’s total nonsense. This is not justice. I put these people into the office, where they are now in the Ethics Committee and they don’t even have the courage to listen to the secretary general, Platini or me. I called them for the principles of the human rights: before to be suspended or excluded from somewhere you have the right to answer and they have denied this. They made a summary investigation and three days later I was suspended.
The man who has led FIFA for nearly two decades and allowed widespread corruption to go on under his nose finally seems to be backed into a corner.
He doesn’t like it all and is coming out swinging in the final few months of his beleaguered presidency of world soccer’s ailing governing body.