December 21, 2022

Sepp Blatter Admits Failed to Protect Football from Political and Business Interference

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter admits he is unable to protect football from political and business interference. In an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit, Blatter, who headed FIFA for 17 years, said he had tried to rein in the business but had repeatedly failed. "Because of the economic value of football and because of politics," he said in an interview that will be published in the Thursday, December 22, 2022 edition of Die Zeit.

Blatter was removed as FIFA President and banned from football in 2015 after criminal proceedings were initiated against him along with Michel Platini by the Swiss Attorney General. The two were acquitted of fraud charges by a Swiss court in June. Prosecutors have appealed the decision.

The trial centered on a payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011. At the time, Platini was President of UEFA, European soccer's governing body. The Attorney General of Switzerland accused the two of illegally arranging the payment of 2 million Swiss francs (current value of US$ 2.05 million).

Recalling how his predecessor Joao Havelange told him he had created a monster, Blatter told Die Zeit, "Maybe he's right."

Blatter said the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was symbolic of a bigger problem affecting his sport, namely over-commercialization. He gave the example of the 2026 World Cup finals which consisted of 48 teams or now the Club World Cup. According to him, FIFA has no business in club football.

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