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Name Sepp Blatter
Gender Male
Ethnic Swiss
Job ex President of FIFA

Affiliation

Org FIFA
2007 05 31
Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed as FIFA president for a third term

2011 03 25 Retrieve

[Fifa president Sepp Blatter says FIFA have been at the forefront of the international aid effort, donating $3.25 million to Haiti eartquake] One year after the earthquake, we have not forgotten about Haiti and we are still committed to supporting them. We know that football remains a contributor to the positive spirit of many youngsters in Haiti, and that it can bring some hope for them in these difficult times

2013 05 24 Retrieve

[Sepp Blatter set to ratify new regulations aimed at preventing a repeat of the corruption scandals to dog the game’s world governing body as well as making its committees more representative] We have already installed the famous ethics committee, the audit and compliance committee and we have given a little bit more place to women’s football in our executive committee

It only works if you, in your associations and Uefa organisation, will have the same committees or commissions. If not, it is impossible for Fifa to be in control of everything

2018 10 28 Retrieve

[q: How did you get into the position?] I worked at the Swiss Olympic Committee and I was called by the FIFA general secretary in 1966. He told me that they needed my help. I left everything, including my position in Longines brand marketing. Football was always a part of me and it was my chance. Years later, they told me that president [Joao] Havelange needed a football player, not to score goals but to implement a programme to develop the sport. It was 1974 and I accepted immediately. In February 1975, I began and was there until February 2015, when I was suspended from any activity

[q: What was FIFA for you?] A dream and a challenge. It was about being involved in football and developing it. Six years after starting, I was appointed general secretary. Football isn’t just about touching the ball, it touches lives through its very important social and cultural aspects. It is a school of life. It is about discipline and respect for the team, the coach, the referee and the opposition. It is a competitive game, like life, but with sportsmanship. Football can help society and we have achieved that. There are two billion people involved

[q: What were your first steps like in FIFA?] When I arrived, FIFA didn’t have an official sponsor. We only had Adidas for the ball and nothing else. Coca Cola then arrived and I’m proud of that. There were 11 people at FIFA. I was number 12 and at that time, No. 12 was the substitute. What changed everything was television in the 1970s. Public and private television changed both football and FIFA. The World Cup in South Korea and Japan [2002] changed everything. FIFA and national leagues changed, especially the English one because of the impact it had all over the world. It sold well and things continued

[q: Why did FIFA start to change?] There was another issue that entered the football world. When talking about a social, educational and economic issue, then what follows are political issues and when those entered, football changed. We had already lived through the World Cup in Argentina, a complicated situation. Later, we have seen that it has a direct influence on things, as was proven by the designation of the venues for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. FIFA’s executive committee decided that the 2018 tournament would be in Europe and 2022 in the USA for rotation reasons and because eastern Europe had never had a World Cup

[q: So why did that not happen and the 2022 World Cup went to Qatar?] Due to the political intervention of the French president [Nicolas Sarkozy] through the vice-president of FIFA, who was Michel Platini. He asked to vote for Qatar and managed to change everything. The USA were out of the running. Now, they have another World Cup themselves, due to the intervention of the American president for 2026. FIFA can’t do anything when a head of state moves like that. Football has become an important issue, for both good and bad reasons

[q: Were the United States unhappy with the decision to take ‘their’ World Cup to Qatar?] Not as much as England in 2018. I remember what [former prime minister David] Cameron said. ‘That man [meaning me] told me that the World Cup was ours’. But I never said that. Those who lost out attacked FIFA

[q: Would nothing have happened [to you] then if England and the USA had won?] That is clear. The police actions, including press attacks, would not have taken place. They wanted to eliminate me and they got their wish

[q: But there were some things done that were bad, as has been demonstrated…] Yes, yes, but those leaders have committed infractions outside of FIFA, in their respective confederations, especially in South America and North America. Nobody was tried in Switzerland. There is talk of FIFA-gate but that is wrong. People should have said confederation-gate

[q: Did you feel betrayed by people you trusted?] Naturally, but I can’t be responsible for people who I did not choose. It was the confederations who chose them. We had installed more moral control in 2012, but UEFA eliminated that with their general secretary at the head… and he is now president of FIFA

[q: What did you think when things began to go wrong at FIFA?] On the morning of May 27, I met the political intervention at a five-star hotel in Zurich 06:00, with American journalists present. The roof fell in on me. Thirty days after my re-election as president, the American justice system said that FIFA was a mafia and had to be destroyed. It was the end of a dream

[q: They knocked on the door of your hotel room that early in the morning?] I was unaware of anything, but the Swiss government knew about it

[q: There are two dates which stand out among everything that happened: the day dollar bills were thrown at you during a press conference and the day the police entered your office during an executive meeting, right?] The hardest was the press conference, when an artist from England appeared and threw the money. We controlled the entrance and failed. The other thing, the day they entered my office, I wanted to help because I was not involved. It was a consequence of the crimes of others. That day, I had to give a press conference and I told the police that. They told me it was okay to do it, but I had to be accompanied by them. Could you imagine if I had appeared with the police?

[q: Do you not think that FIFA lived beyond its means in terms of food, luxury hotels, high-end cars, etc?] Yes that could be the case, but what I did wrong was the decision in the duration of the terms of office. My family told me many times, especially after the World Cup in Brazil, that I should leave. Platini was the chosen one [to replace me], but suddenly he said he didn’t want it. The rest of the confederations told me they hadn’t prepared a substitute. Luxury cars were something our sponsors demanded. The president and members of the executive had to have luxury cars. It was normal. When I started as president, FIFA had a debt of 60 million dollars. When I left in 2015, we had 2 billion dollars in reserves and 1.4bn dollars in money, which has been used for the development of football, not other things

[q: Do you sleep soundly every night?] Yes, without problems. At the time of the suspension, I couldn’t sleep but now I can

[q: Do you continue to fight to prove your innocence?] Of course. Morally and from the legal aspect, I don’t know what I could do

[q: A key person in everything that happened around your departure was Platini. What happened to him and his 2m euros?] It is the famous subject of the 2m euros as part of a verbal contract. We paid his salary, which appeared on the books of FIFA. When we were suspended, he wanted to be president and went to court. He wanted to be separate from me in the struggle to prove his innocence. He wanted to go the fastest way, but now we are still in the same situation

[q: Did you feel betrayed by Platini?] Platini presented his case to the French justice system. Neither the Swiss justice system nor FIFA’s administration itself said anything because everything appeared on the books. Nobody said anything. No member of FIFA filed a complaint. I have asked for my case and Platini’s to be resolved at once. I think that by the end of the year, everything will be resolved, but it is strange that the sports justice system is slower

[q: Have you felt persecuted?] No, no. The subject is still open, but there was no basis for it. The case opened three years ago and there’s still nothing. There is no logical reason to intervene in the financial aspects of the agreement with Platini

[q: Do you like the current FIFA regime of Gianni Infantino?] I can’t say if I like it or not because I have only met him twice in the month of March, after his election. The problems with FIFA haven’t been resolved. He doesn’t want to talk to me. Only the lawyers speak and I think that is a lack of respect. Thing aren’t going well, but I can’t say if it is very good or bad

[q: Do you consider yourself innocent of everything you are accused of?] Naturally, yes. The ethics committee of FIFA told the press at all times that my issue was not corruption and commercial or economic misconduct, something that is incomprehensible when you take charge of an organisation like FIFA that has nothing and you leave them with billions. I have never been investigated for corruption. It hurts me that my granddaughter at school was singled out and had problems with her classmates because they told her that her grandfather was a bad man. That hurt me. There is no reason for that

[q: Did Blatter make money as president?] Sure, but my father in his day told his three children that we should never take money that we didn’t personally earn. The Blatter family pays its debts and have never given money to third parties to benefit us. I have helped people with my money

[q: Was FIFA a mafia like people said?] No. Those who said that must apologise

[q: Has football given Blatter more or has Blatter given football more?] Football has given more to me, but I still want to give something. It has given me a wonderful life, but I also worked hard for it. It is something exceptional. I consider myself a missionary of football because football needs missionaries. What I have done is develop it in the whole world. The organisation that I made is my contribution to the sport. I think I made football better

[q: Was your FIFA a credible organisation?] FIFA wasn’t a mafia. It was individual people who were impossible to control. When I started in FIFA, there were 11 people working there and now there are 800. In football, there were no problems because there was no money. Maybe we could change the basic organisation, with a code of rules being given to a party on the outside

[q: What do you regret?] Not listening to my family when they told me to leave. At 62, people retire, but I spent 17 more years working for FIFA. I’ve worked for more than 40 years in football, surrounded by young people and that’s how I felt. My feelings are positive

[q: A few days ago, you said you didn’t like draws in European club competitions… are there hot balls?] I shouldn’t talk about that topic. It is very delicate. A president should never intervene in the draws. It is always possible to prepare things, so it is dangerous for a president of a competition to draw balls. We never did it at FIFA. You must always be a neutral person

[q: Do you still follow Real Madrid?] Of course. I’m still an honorary member of Real Madrid, something given to me by [Alfredo] Di Stefano. When I played amateur football in Switzerland, Real Madrid were the most popular team and Don Alfredo was my idol. I managed to get my team to change kits and wear white for Real Madrid. Later, while working for FIFA, I was invited to a Real Madrid game by Mr Bernabeu too

2019 06 18 Retrieve

[Sepp Blatter quoted Michel Platini as saying ahead of the vote] I am no longer in your picture because I have been told by the head of state that we should consider the situation of France

[Two weeks earlier, Platini had been hosted by Sarkozy at the French presidential palace, and met senior Qatari officials. In Blatter’s version, Platini and three other European voters switched their planned American support] Platini phoned me and said, ‘Listen, president, our gentlemen’s agreement [for the U.S.] which we have made inside the FIFA executive committee will have difficulties to work

2019 11 08 Retrieve

[He found Michel Platini’s demands for recoup back pay, legal fees] shocking, because I thought he was fighting above all else to save his honour, his integrity, his values