Zurich — Without specifying his illness, Sepp Blatter said
in excerpts from a television interview that he was near death when
hospitalized for stress-related problems this month.
The suspended FIFA president was "between the angels
singing and the devil's fire," he told Swiss broadcaster RTS in his first
television interview since leaving the hospital on Nov. 12.
"But it was the angels which sang," Blatter said,
adding "happily I never lost consciousness" during the 48 hours when
Parts of the interview were released ahead Wednesday's full
The French-language broadcaster said in a news report late
Sunday that the 79-year-old Blatter was treated in intensive care for several
Blatter acknowledged he had been under "enormous
pressure," with personal legal problems arising from a $2 million payment
of FIFA money he authorized to Michel Platini in 2011 as backdated salary.
Also read: FIFA rejects Blatter, Platini appeals against corruption
Swiss federal prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against
Blatter in September for alleged criminal mismanagement, over the Platini deal
and an undervalued sale of Caribbean TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World
Blatter was suspended on Oct. 8 by the FIFA ethics committee
and is awaiting a full hearing there, likely in December. He faces a ban from
soccer of at least several years.
His appeal against the 90-day ban should be heard within
days at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Platini faces similar hearings, seeking to revive his
stalled campaign to succeed Blatter in the FIFA presidential election on Feb.
Blatter insisted to RTS that Platini, his former protege and
the UEFA president, is "an honest man" who should be cleared of
"If he comes back, he will be elected," Blatter
said. "And then if he comes back, I'm coming back also."
Blatter repeated his legal defense that a verbal agreement
for Platini to receive the money was a valid contract in Swiss law. Platini
worked as Blatter's adviser from 1998-2002.
Their rift between the two in recent years deepened as
Blatter refused to stand aside and give Platini a clearer run at the top job.
Blatter acknowledged to RTS his regret at not deciding to
step down after a successful 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Two days before the May 2015 election in Zurich, American
and Swiss federal prosecutors revealed their investigations of bribery and
corruption implicating FIFA and senior officials.For
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