The newly re-elected leader of FIFA Sepp Blatter has said he’s shocked at the way the US targeted football’s world governing body, adding the arrest of its officials and calls for his resignation is “no coincidence.”
On Friday, 79-year-old Blatter won his fifth presidential term at FIFA after his opponent, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, withdrew before the voting went into the second round.
In an interview on Saturday with Swiss television RTS, Blatter also condemned what he called a “hate” campaign waged against him by Europe’s football leaders.
The FIFA chief slammed comments made by the US judiciary on the world football body. “Of course I am shocked. I would never as FIFA president make comments about another organization without being certain of what has happened.”
Blatter believes the arrest of seven FIFA officials and calls for resignation from UEFA chief Michel Platini just two days before the election is “no coincidence.”
“There are signs that do not lie: Americans were candidates for the World Cup 2022 and they lost [it]. If Americans have to deal with money or criminal offences which involve northern or South American citizens, they stop them there, but not in Zurich while there’s a congress,” lamented the freshly re-elected president.
He stressed there are US interests behind the candidacy of his Jordanian rival. “Let us not forget that they are the number one sponsor of the Hashemite Kingdom – so of my opponent. This doesn’t feel good.”
A massive corruption scandal at FIFA prompted a wave of accusations against Blatter, who was held responsible for what was happening on his watch. On Thursday, the head of UEFA, Michel Platini called for his resignation, saying, “people don’t need a president like Blatter.”
It is a hate that comes not just from a person at UEFA, it comes from the UEFA organization that cannot understand that in 1998 I became president,” he said in the latest interview.
Asked whether he would forgive Platini for the resignation calls, Blatter said: “I forgive everyone, but I do not forget.”
Fourteen FIFA officials and businessmen have been accused by the US of bribery, fraud and money laundering. Several were arrested in a Zurich hotel where they had gathered ahead of Friday’s summit. Swiss prosecutors are also investigating the awarding of the World Cups 2018 and 2022 to Russia and Qatar, respectively, to ascertain whether the vote was clean and legal. RT