Sepp Blatter in an interview: "I am at peace with myself"

Sepp Blatter in an interview: "I am at peace with myself"

The ex-Fifa president attests in the interview a white vest, harsh criticism of his successor, Thomas Bach considers the wrong IOC president and presents its own version of the German World Cup affair.


By Thomas Kistner, Zurich

The controversial longtime president of the Football World Federation Fifa, Sepp Blatter, has himself in an interview with the South German newspaper (Weekend edition) certified a white vest. "I am at peace with myself," said the 82-year-old. However, he confirmed that in Switzerland further criminal investigations against him, among other things regarding a television rights treaty, which he had issued in 2005 to the then FIFA Vice President Jack Warner (Trinidad & Tobago). Warner, whose extradition is conducted by the US judiciary, was allowed to acquire the television rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments for the Caribbean for the ridiculous price of $ 600,000. For their resale, he had then released between 15 to 20 million dollars. But Fifa would have "well earned", said Blatter of the SZ, "in the time that was a very good contract, why should I fight back if a contract is good?" However, the Swiss also admits that such a contract concluded between FIFA President and FIFA Vice President "certainly not today" would meet the usual compliance requirements. "But that's many years back."

Sepp Blatter ran Fifa from 1998 to 2015. In the summer of 2015, immediately following his re-election for another four years, he announced his retreat in the wake of numerous corruption scandals in world football. In December 2015, the Ethics Committee of Fifa blocked him for all activities in football on suspicion of unfair management for eight years. The lock was later shortened to six years.

A spectacular process and its consequences

In New York, there are the first prison sentences for high former officials of the World Football Association. For the current Fifa leadership around Gianni Infantino the outcome of the proceedings is of great importance.

By Johannes Aumüller and Thomas Kistner

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Blatter sharply criticized in the SZ interview his successor Gianni Infantino. The core projects of his compatriot are "unrealistic". He sees the planned deal with investors unknown to this day, who claim to pay 25 billion dollars for a club World Cup and a new League of Nations, as a sell-out of football, said Blatter. The already agreed increase in the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams contribute only to the dilution and banalization of football and also carry the risk of manipulation. "You can not sell football," said Blatter. He also did not speak to Infantino. "He does not talk to me, I do not talk to him."

Fifa and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are now unprofessionally run by Blatter. Blatter criticized the autonomy of sport as completely outdated – that is, the right demanded by the sports federations to regulate their affairs on their own responsibility. During his tenure, he had always vigorously defended this right. But: "That's not possible today," said Blatter. He demanded strong state controls over the major sports federations and new leadership personnel who did not qualify for athletic mastery. Blatter said about IOC President Thomas Bach: "You do not learn to lead by being a master in some kind of sport, including the IOC – who does that? The fencer …" He has leadership in the military as well learned at a time from a Swiss watch manufacturer.

Blatter also brought a new aspect in the German summer fairytale affair. Fifa never intended to hold an opening gala for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. "I can only say so much: Fifa would not have organized the gala," Blatter explained when asked why the world governing body had this planned World Cup kick-off event broadcast in the fall of 2004 by the German government. In early 2006, the gala was actually canceled. Until then, however, the burst event had caused about 20 million euros in expenses and served the German World Cup Organizing Committee (OK) as a project for the disguised payment of 6.7 million euros, the true purpose of which is still being investigated by investigative authorities. For the public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt she represents a covert payment to the former OC boss Franz Beckenbauer.

After the gala had passed into the Fifa jurisdiction, the German WM-OK had made a contribution of 6.7 million euros (then converted 10 million Swiss francs) to the Fifa. The latter forwarded the amount to Robert Louis-Dreyfus the same day. According to his bank records, the former owner of Adidas had granted a loan of ten million francs to Beckenbauer three years earlier. The money had flowed to the Fifa top functionary Mohamed Bin Hammam to Qatar. It is still unclear, for what and whether it was forwarded from there.

Read the complete interview with SZ Plus:

"I was betrayed"

Sepp Blatter was FIFA President until he was arrested on suspicion of corruption. A conversation about responsibility, his successor and why he is at peace with himself.

By Thomas Kistner

more…


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