Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted that a $100 million bribery case in which he is reportedly implicated “is over”, and pleaded ignorance over alleged corruption by top officials at the scandal-hit world body.
Blatter, speaking to Japan’s Nikkei business daily, also protested that he should have been warned before Swiss police arrested seven FIFA officials in May, and said he hoped to return to his job in the coming weeks.
“It was a tsunami,” he said of the May arrests on behalf of US authorities, which plunged the world body into crisis, in the interview published on Friday.
“Swiss authorities should have at least informed me that such a thing would happen,” Blatter said, adding that he was “shocked when I saw, and [what is] still going on, what has happened in the different confederations”.
“I cannot be morally responsible for the bad activities of members of my executive committee when I have no chance to introduce them or to dismiss them,” Blatter said.
The arrests in Zurich kick-started events which forced Blatter to announce his resignation. He is now suspended from FIFA as Swiss authorities investigate the alleged misappropriation of funds and a $2 million payment to UEFA chief Michel Platini.
Blatter, who suffered a health scare last month, said he would be fully recovered by Christmas and hoped to be back in office in time to hand over to his successor, who will be elected on February 26.
“At least I can prepare the congress and I can go out of FIFA at the time when I am still the leader of the congress, because I am still the president of FIFA,” he said, explaining why he is keen to return.