. . . Much of Blatter’s comments were directed to his perception that he had been accused of paying UEFA president Michel Platini SFr2m to buy votes in the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

Blatter denied this vehemently – although, in fact, no such accusation of corruption was levelled against him by the ethics committee. Presumably if it had found him guilty of corruption it would have banned him for life.

He repeated the familiar tale of the payment to Platini which had been agreed for the Frenchman’s work for FIFA between 1998 and 2002, an undertaking which was always official, open and above board. Blatter’s statement that the deal had been subject of comment by the UEFA executive committee at the time was irrelevant.

However, the payment had been agreed, Blatter conceded, via “a verbal contract or gentleman’s agreement.”

Blatter said to punish him was unjust, adding: “will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. Suspended for eight years for what? . . . Now [Michel Platini] is being called a liar and I’m [being called] a liar and this is not correct.

“So, with my lawyer, I will use sporting justice to go forward immediately to the appeal committee, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, also to the Swiss court for my rights as a Swiss citizen.”

Blatter should know, after all his years in FIFA, that taking action in the civil courts over a football decision is contrary to the world federation’s statutes.

. . .