ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has no doubt that anyone involved in football in on the side of the angels, according to his latest musings about his philosophy of life.
The 75-year-old Swiss roamed into the issue during an interview with a Swiss newspaper which had asked him to explain why so much scandal had surrounded members of his exceutive committee.
Blatter replied that while he had been elected by Congress the other 23 members had come from their confederations “and when they come to Zurich they put their own interests first.”
Blatter said he had first understood that many of them did not put football’s interests first when it came to the internal battle within FIFA to take the World Cup to South Africa.
He added: “First, when I wanted to convince the exco, I found I was on my own. Nobody believed in it and everyone thought, for one thing, we would lose a lot of money. In fact, we have never made such a surplis from a World Cup. Not only FIFA: all of our 203 member associations profited financially from the success of the World Cup in 2010.
“This is a country in the G20 and European companies are queuing up to go there.
“The other lonely moments were when I came up for my re-election in 2002 in Seoul, before the World Cup in Korea and Japan. There was such a vicious atmosphere I cannot describe it. That year, standing up in front of Congress, I truly felt on my own. Fortunately I have developed an internal strength, a little voice which urges me forward all the time.
“My daughter, Corinne, has said to me: ‘Why do you keep going? Let me get on with it themselves.’ But I must go on: I haven’t finished my mission.”
Asked if his sense of mission would not have made him better suited to be Pope rather than FIFA president Blatter conceded that he had once considered the church but then he went into the hotel business instead and found it far more enjoyable. He had no doubt, nevertheless, that God liked football.
Also, he said he had never been tempted by politics. He added that he did not have personal phone numbers for Obama and Medvedev – “but I know how to contact them if I need to.”
Blatter said he remained convinced that the critical attitude of the English media towards FIFA owed a great deal to bitterness at Britain having lost its influence at the top of world sport, exacerbated by the nature of England’s defeat in the 2018 World Cup bidding.
He added: “When they came to Zurich with Beckham, Prince William and the Prime Minister, they felt sure of winning. But they got only two votes. Afterwards they looked for any and every possible excuse to explain awsay their defeat.”
As for the future, Blatter signalled his belief that UEFA president Michel Platini would be his successor at the head of FIFA in 2015.
“Platini,” said Blatter, “is destined for the highest role in football.”
Yours? – “For me, it seems obvious.”