ZURICH: Disgraced ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed he would be “available” to attend the forthcoming FIFAGate trial in the United States in defence of the world federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The 80-year-0ld has avoided leaving Switzerland – except to visit Russia for the 2018 World Cup draw last year – ever since the United States Department of Justice swooped on world football in May last year.
So far 42 individuals and companies have been indicted on corruption charges including many of Blatter’s former colleagues on the FIFA executive committtee.
Blatter is currently awaiting a date for his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his six-year ban from all football by the FIFA ethics committee.
He reappeared on public on Friday at a symposium considering FIFA reform at the University of Basel.
Afterwards Blatter confimed his willingness to act as a witness – presumably with guarantees – if needed in the US.
He said: “If they need me to defend FIFA, I will be available.”
European federation president Michel Platini, similarly banned for six years and appealing, will be heard by CAS on April 29.
Blatter said: “It’s good news that CAS has made progress with Platini’s case. I believe that now, finally, at CAS, they are going to talk about justice, and not just speculation.
“That means it’s justice that will prove if the accused is guilty and not the accused who has to prove his innocence.”
Blatter was unhappy, however, with criticism of his leadership of FIFA at the symposium by former International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.
The Argentinian said he thought Blatter had known about corruption within FIFA but had preferred to stay silent rather than confront it.
Blatter said: “It is not acceptable. I was very surprised at Mr Ocampo invited here for this seminar and then to make such an accusation.
“I am not responsible morally about what the others have done.”