Sepp Blatter has criticised the media’s attempts to “kill” him amid the ongoing Fifa corruption probe, but has admitted regret at the governing body’s inadequate vetting of its executive committee members.
In an interview with BFM TV, the suspended Fifa president also lamented his defencelessness as his time at the helm draws towards a close, going on to reiterate an earlier-stated view that the current situation would not have arisen if the 2022 World Cup had been awarded to the US.
“What I regret is the way the media moved in to kill me from the get-go,” Blatter said. “This condemnation of the Fifa president by the media when I was not responsible for the actions of the members of the executive committee since I am not the one who elected them … My regret is, maybe, that we didn’t take the necessary measures to avoid having members of the Fifa executive committee who hadn’t passed the integrity test.
Blatter, whose successor will be elected at an extraordinary congress next Friday, suggested that allies had deserted him since his eight-year suspension in December.
“This departure that they’re preparing for me, it’s very sad, very sad,” he said. “You suddenly find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the means to defend yourself and you don’t have any friends left. You are isolated, you are alone even if, during this whole operation, I had a great footballer, [the also-suspended Uefa president] Michel Platini by my side.”
Asked about the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, Blatter repeated a previous statement that an intervention from France broke a pact to host the competition in the US for a second time.
“World Cups are not awarded because of payments, they’re awarded in relation to political interventions,” he said. “The European group, that had agreed to the tacit deal that the World Cup should go to the US, changed its vote after France’s political intervention. So to answer your question, if [the World Cup] had gone to the US, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”