FIFA head Blatter shifts blame to confederations in interview

Thu Jul 9, 2015 5:25am EDT
 
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ZURICH (Reuters) - 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.

"It is impossible to stamp out robbery and murder, even with a functioning courts system down to community level," Blatter said. "Soccer 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 fraud charges.

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.   Continued...

 
FIFA President Sepp Blatter pauses during a news conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, June 2, 2015.   REUTERS/Ruben Sprich