Blatter talks reform and reveals he rejected bribe
By Martyn Ziegler
SEPP BLATTER has promised a reform of FIFA if he is re-elected president and revealed that he too once handed back a bribe when he was given an envelope which turned out to be stuffed with cash.
The 75-year-old said he will present proposals to FIFA’s Congress next week on dealing with past allegations of corruption and ticket touting by senior FIFA officials.
Blatter is keeping the details under wraps but they include the chairmen of three key committees being appointed by the Congress of all 208 member countries.
He said: “Handling the past will be presented to the Congress. We have to make sure that immediately after the election that we rebuild the image of FIFA.
“We need to reinforce the judicial bodies and we shall find a solution how to handle the past in order that we can stop forever in the future all these damaging things about corruption.
“These bodies should be more independent and this is a question I will bring to the Congress, that the Congress should elect the members of these committees or at least the chairmen of the three committees — the ethics, disciplinary and appeal committees.”
Blatter said he had never been involved in any corrupt practices but revealed that he had been targeted for a bribe when he was FIFA’s secretary general — though he refused to name the person involved.
He said: “I received once an envelope, when I was secretary general and in this envelope there was an amount of money.
“I couldn’t refuse because he put it in my pocket. I came home here to FIFA and gave it to the finance director and he put this money on the account of the Swiss Bank Corporation at that time, and informed the guy, ‘the money you gave the secretary general is in that bank’ and a few days later he reclaimed it. Then it was specifically known that please don’t try to give money to somebody who’s in the FIFA.”
Blatter added that he was “disappointed” to hear that Amadou Diallo, a former employee of FIFA and a close friend of Blatter’s presidential challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam, had been named in the UK parliament as the ‘fixer’ of bribes paid by the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid to two FIFA executive committee members. Qatar fiercely deny any wrongdoing.
Blatter also confirmed that UEFA president Michel Platini is on the right track to succeed him if he is re-elected — he has promised to step down in 2015.
“There are a lot of candidates for president but Platini is exactly in this trajectory. I’m sure Europe will make everything to maintain the presidency of FIFA, that’s why they are also looking very carefully to the election on June 1 here in Zurich.”
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