As FIFA President Sepp Blatter contemplates his final days in office, he’s going out in typical Blatter style, with a lot of bombast and vitriol. He’s about to serve an eight-year suspension which was imposed by FIFA’s ethics committee in December. And as he watches the election of a new president, Blatter is going out with guns blazing.
In an interview with French network BFM TV, Blatter took shots at the media and the United States for his suspension. When asked if he had any regrets, Blatter didn’t look back on his controversial four-plus terms for an answer, he set his target on an institution of which he’s had an adversarial relationship:
“What I regret is the way the media moved in to kill me from the get-go,” Blatter said. “This condemnation of the Fifa president by the media when I was not responsible for the actions of the members of the executive committee since I am not the one who elected them … My regret is, maybe, that we didn’t take the necessary measures to avoid having members of the Fifa executive committee who hadn’t passed the integrity test.”
Blatter certainly isn’t reflecting within and taking any blame for his suspension which he’s appealing. And he’s also focusing on the United States for his troubles as well citing the FBI and IRS investigations that led to indictments of several FIFA officials. Blatter said outright that if the United States had been awarded the 2022 World Cup instead of Qatar, he wouldn’t be in the current mess.
“World Cups are not awarded because of payments, they’re awarded in relation to political interventions,” he said. “The European group, that had agreed to the tacit deal that the World Cup should go to the U.S., changed its vote after France’s political intervention. So to answer your question, if [the World Cup] had gone to the U.S., we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Blatter admits he’s sad that it has all come down to him leaving FIFA and that he doesn’t have any friends now. But he added that some voting members have asked him who they should support, but said he couldn’t take sides. The fact that some FIFA officials are still asking for his advice is quite distressing for those hoping that the organization will reform from its old ways.
As he leaves, Blatter is not looking at himself as the root of FIFA’s problems and would rather place blame on outside sources which has been typical for his tenure as president.