Sepp Blatter said Wednesday that he was the target of “an inquisition” by FIFA’s ethics committee, which has suspended him for 90 days and called for further sanctions over corruption charges.
Blatter, who led for FIFA for 17 years until his suspension in October, appeared in several Swiss media on Wednesday, defending himself against a range of allegations that have sparked widespread calls for reform at the top of world soccer.
Speaking to the Zurich-based Sportinformation news service, Blatter invoked his faith and portrayed himself as the victim of an attack.
“As a good Christian, I have to say that what the ethics commission is doing with me, it’s like an inquisition,” the sanctioned FIFA boss said in quotes distributed by the ATS news agency.
Those comments followed an interview aired on the SF DRS television station in which Blatter insisted the burden of proof was on his accusers.
“It’s not me who has to prove my innocence,” the Swiss national said.
He claimed he deserved an honorable exit from FIFA, because, he said, “I am not a bad man.”
Blatter is the target of a criminal investigation by Swiss prosecutors over possible mismanagement at FIFA and a $2 million payment made in 2011 to his would-be successor, UEFA boss Michel Platini. The Swiss criminal probe spurred FIFA’s internal ethics watchdog to launch its own inquiry.
FIFA investigators finalixed their probe over the weekend, turning evidence over to the ethics committee’s judges, who will issue a verdict next month. The investigators have called for a lifetime ban against Platini, but the requested punishment against Blatter is not yet known.
In a separate interview aired on the RTS television station, Blatter voiced regret that he did not quit FIFA after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
In clips of the RTS interview released on Sunday, the 79-year-old spoke of his recent hospitalization for stress.
“I was close to dying. I was between the angels who were singing and the devil who was lighting the fire, but it was the angels who sang,” Blatter told RTS in the interview that was aired in full on Wednesday.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family