Defiant Blatter regrets he did not reform FIFA

Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:44pm EDT
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By John Miller

BASEL (Reuters) - Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter acknowledged on Friday that he failed to reform the scandal-ridden world soccer organization but asserted he was not responsible for corruption in its regional organizations.

Blatter spoke to more than 400 people at the University of Basel, where a student group has been preparing proposals on how FIFA should address the scandal.

The disgraced FIFA head appeared at the event with Luis Moreno Ocampo, a former International Criminal Court prosecutor who accused the 80-year-old Swiss citizen of turning a blind eye to corruption within regional soccer organizations.

Dozens of officials, including former members of FIFA's executive committee, have been indicted in the United States and Blatter has been banned for six years by its ethics committee.

"I regret I have not done enough to bring back FIFA on the right track," Blatter told the meeting. But he insisted that while he led FIFA, the actions of leaders of regional soccer organizations did not fall under his purview.

"Those things they did within their confederations," he said. "I don't have any power to intervene in their confederations."

Blatter was banned from soccer activities for ethics violations in December along with Michel Platini, a former French national player who rose to become head of the European football association UEFA.

The pair were suspended in October pending an investigation into a 2 million Swiss franc ($2.07 million) payment to Platini that FIFA made to European boss Platini in 2011.   Continued...

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter answers questions during a panel discussion in Basel, Switzerland April 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann