Zurich - Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter has told a
Swiss newspaper that continental confederations, rather than soccer's world
governing body, were to blame for the corruption scandal engulfing the game.
In a wide-ranging interview with the right-wing weekly
Weltwoche, published on Thursday, Blatter maintained his view that FIFA had
done nothing wrong and could not be held responsible for the actions of
individuals from continental federations.
"There is no wangling under the direct influence of
FIFA," Blatter said.
"But our influence over contracts concluded by the
confederations is practically zero."
Asked whether he bore any responsibility as the head of
FIFA, Blatter replied that crime was a part of all walks of life.
Also read: Blatter to attend 2018 SWC draw
"It is impossible to stamp out robbery and murder, even
with a functioning courts system down to community level," Blatter said.
"Football is not better than our society."
FIFA was thrown into turmoil after 14 sports marketing
executives and soccer officials, including several from Zurich-based FIFA, were
indicted by the United States in late May on bribery, money laundering and wire
Seven of those accused were arrested by Swiss police in a
dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel two days before the FIFA Congress, where
Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president.
They are in custody awaiting extradition to the U.S.
U.S. prosecutors have not accused Blatter of any wrongdoing,
but his stewardship of FIFA is under scrutiny, sources familiar with
investigations in the U.S. and Switzerland have said.
In a shock announcement four days after the May arrests in
Zurich, Blatter said he would lay down his mandate at an extraordinary FIFA
Congress which will take place between December and February, but he would not
The Swiss reiterated to Weltwoche that he would not stand,
saying it was "in principle not" possible that he would remain as
head of FIFA.
Blatter he said he would leave FIFA even if the
extraordinary congress asked him to stay, adding that he thought the criticism
against him was rooted in envy.
"This envy has been festering for years. Envy is a
predicate to jealousy. And jealousy is rooted in love. This can however turn to
hate. And that's what happened when this tsunami hit us two days before the
congress," he said.
Quizzed about why didn't do more to prevent any wrongdoing
within his organisation, Blatter gave a sarcastic explanation, and likened the
ongoing crisis to a football tournament he was confident of winning.
"I not only see everything, I'm responsible for
everything, even for the English women's own goal at the World Cup
recently," Blatter said.
"Am I responsible for climate change too?"
He added: "We lost the first match, but we have a
chance at the semi-final. I am calm and optimistic."For
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