ZURICH: Sepp Blatter has confirmed that he will not follow the exanple of Michel Platini and challenge his ban from football in the Swiss federal court writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The disgraced former president of world federation FIFA recently lost his appeal against the six-year ethics breach ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
A key issue was Blatter’s authorisation of a 2m Swiss francs payment in 2011 to Frenchman Platini, then a FIFA vice-president and the head of European governing body UEFA. Their claim that they were innocent of wrongdoing was dismissed in separate hearings by both the FIFA appeal committee and then CAS.
Platini, banned for four years, has said he will appeal to the Swiss supreme court, as is his right under CAS statutes.
However Blatter, in an interview with Le Monde, said: “This [CAS appeal] was my last fight in terms of sports law. I do not want to mix sports law with the common law. I asked for the total acquittal. Now I’ve thrown in the towel. In football, you also learn to lose though FIFA Congress may yet decide to reduce or lift the suspension . . . I did not cheat anyone.”
Blatter’s concession of defeat means he must immediately cease using the FIFA Mercedes and chauffeur which have been at his beck and call pending the outcome of the appeal process. He is already paying rent on his FIFA apartment in Zurich.
The former FIFA president said that Platini has rejected a suggestion that they run their appeals jointly because the Frenchman had wanted to pursue an accelerated process in the vain hope of staying on as UEFA president.
The 80-year-old expressed his shock at events of May 2015 when seven senior officials were arrested in Zurich when the length, depth and breadth of high-level corruption was revealed by the United States’ FIFAGate investigation.
Everything, he thought, started with the controversial awards in December 2010 of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
He said: “The two associations who most wanted to have the World Cup, England and the US, are bad losers and then came this US investigation into the confederations of North and South America.
“The Americans tried to open things against me. But there is nothing. It was a little gesture of revenge against the Qatar decision. They also fear not getting the World Cup in 2026.”
Blatter thought there was no prospect of the World Cup being withdrawn from either Qatar or from Russia, despite in the latter case the fall-out from the McLaren report into a state-supported doping cover-up.
He said: “Such organised doping is certainly bad. But, taking a wider geopolitical perspective, taking the World Cup awat from Russia would be a catastrophic decision.”