Scandal-hit FIFA President Sepp Blatter has demonstrated the scale of his sloping shoulders by saying that he can’t be held responsible for corruption in the organisation he heads.
Speaking at the governing body’s annual conference in Zurich, the man who is favourite to retain control of the organisation for a fifth term told journalists that he couldn’t be held responsible for the actions of others within FIFA, the Telegraph reports.
Despite governing FIFA as it crashes from one crisis to another, the most recent being the arrest of seven top officials on corruption charges, Blatter urged voters to give him their support again. By way of seeking absolution, he added: “you can’t ask everyone to behave ethically just like that.”
Blatter also said that the reason that FIFA was under the spotlight was because the USA and the UK were not awarded the World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022, which instead went to Russia and Qatar.
“If two other countries had emerged from the envelope, I think we do not have these problems today,” he said, making what many believe to be a dig at the FBI for launching the investigation when the USA failed to win the 2022 competition or the British media when Russia won the 2018 bid.
The war of words continues in the run up to the election of the new President, with Football Association chairman Greg Dyke telling Sky Sports News that England would consider pulling out of the World Cup if Sepp Blatter won the election if it were joined by other European nations.
“There would be no point pulling England out if everyone else stays in. It would have no impact. It would just be forgotten,” he said.
“But if you could pull UEFA out, that might have an impact. If Blatter gets re-elected, then that should be discussed.
“I thought the evidence the Americans produced was devastating and I don’t think Blatter can survive that. He might survive this weekend but I don’t think he can survive in the long-term. During his period in charge, the level of corruption has been unacceptable. It’s just frightening.”
IEA Director General and long term critic of Blatter Mark Littlewood told Breitbart London that if the Swiss wins, “UEFA need Brazil and Argentina to leave FIFA and set up a new federation.”
“The only countries that really matter are the European countries and those two South American countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for Blatter to step down, set up by a group of AFC Wimbledon supporters has already secured 85,000 signatures.
‘As FIFA President, Sepp Blatter has overseen an organisation that has had its senior executives dragged out of hotel rooms at dawn by the FBI. He has overseen the most controversial World Cup bids in the organisation’s history – both of which stink of corruption. He has overseen the Qatar bid come to fruition despite the deaths of construction workers. And he has stayed at the top despite persistent reports about FIFA’s serious financial mismanagement. Our FIFA video game purchases have helped him finance a £19 million film about himself!
‘Me and my friends set this petition up for Sepp Blatter to resign as FIFA President because we support our local teams. My team, AFC Wimbledon, have shown that fan-power CAN make a difference – we pitched together to create our club which the fans still own today. We cant just leave it to the FBI and the sponsors to pressurise his exit, we can gather together in the same way to show our anger at his foul regime.
‘Little wonder the FBI are now stepping in. And British politicians are calling for change — MP Damian Collins wants the serious fraud office to investigate the World Cup bid and that’s great to hear. But it will take months of painstaking inertia before any such investigation could even dream of taking place.’
They said the petition was to give football fans a voice and to send a strong signal to the CEOs of FIFA sponsors who will have a huge say on whether Blatter stays as President long term even if he is re-elected. Key brands including Coca Cola and Visa have already shown their money is by no means guaranteed if it means their brand is tarnished by the allegations of corruption.
The vote on Blatter’s future will be taken later today.