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Blatter denies wrong-doing in first public comments since FIFA scandal arrests



In the wake of the federation’s latest scandal, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is looking for the organization to better police itself, with Blatter personally leading the charge.

In his first public comments since Wednesday morning’s arrest of numerous FIFA officials, Blatter told FIFA’s annual congress that the organization must repair its reputation.

“I know a lot of people hold me responsible for the actions and reputations of the global football community,” Blatter said, “whether it is the decision of hosting a World Cup or a corruption scandal.”

“We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it. But it must also fall to me to be responsible for the reputation of our entire organization, and to find a way to fix things.

“I will not allow the actions of a few to damage the reputation of FIFA.”

The 79-year-old FIFA president, who will likely be reelcted for a fifth term in Friday’s election, is currently being challenged by Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein for FIFA’s presidency.

While Blatter did not discuss the election directly, the president did state that Wednesday’s events would be a turning point for the organization. Vowing to help the ongoing investigations, Blatter says that FIFA will emerge from this difficult time with increased trust from the public.

“We cannot allow the reputation of FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer,” Blatter said. “It has to stop here and now. The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football, and over this week’s Congress. The actions of individuals, if proven, bring shame and humiliation on football and demand reaction from us all.

“There can be no place for corruption of any kind,” Blatter added. “The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I’m sure more bad news may follow. But it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organization. Let this be the turning point.”

What do you think of Blatter’s comments? Think he’s completely delusional? Buying any of his notions that he had nothing to do with the corruption in FIFA?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’d like to see a raid on Election Day. Also, what about that woman who’s under FBI protection as a whistle blower of the Qatar bid??

  2. I work for a municipal government and i have seen the way this proceedings go as far as building or gaining information. Sepp may think they have nothing on him, however don’t think that because he has not been detained or accused that there is no evidence. like in every proceeding one of these fat birds will sing and the DOJ is just waiting for that moment to have a confession and thus have concrete evidence to arrest Blatter without a doubt of guilt. or better yet people panic and make moves or communicate in regards of the case that jeopardize them. remember these people are facing up to 20 years in prison the difference between being released from prison at 85 or 75 years old will be the bargaining chip. the USSF MLS NASL have released statements and like true professional they will not comment further if that means that it jeapordizes their well being. the winner here will be football.

  3. The only way Blatter leaves is if the sponsors (Visa, Budweiser, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai, Gazprom) do actually break their contract with FIFA and are no longer sponsors. The sponsors along with the TV network deals is where the money comes from. If there is no money to grease the palms of FIFA execs means they will no longer support Blatter. I predict that with the power of the Internet someone will create a Facebook page that shames the sponsors most likely the American companies into no longer being sponsors. But there has to be one caveat it has to be so toxic to be a FIFA sponsor that no one else is willing to take the place of a company that is no longer a sponsor. For example, Burger King would not become a new sponsor if McDonalds were to bail on FIFA or Pepsi replaces Coca Cola.

    • I agree with you that sponsors pulling out is the single best hope of real reform (and the removal of Blatter). But I don’t think you’d need to worry about people “stepping in behind” the existing sponsors if they leave. These are “best of the best” global sponsors…. huge companies and massive global brands. They tend to make decisions in lock-step. If one leaves, it’s likely others will…. and the poison will be so deep they couldn’t get Arby’s to step in.

      So here’s to the first domino…. that’s the key.

  4. I just want to give an applause to whoever picks the photos of Sepp Blatter for SBI’s articles. His expressions ALWAYS match the topic, it’s outstanding!

  5. “I will not allow the actions of a few to damage the reputation of FIFA.”

    Biggest facepalm ever.

    The man has completely lost his marbles. If Sepp wants to do right by football, then get the hell out of the way.

    • Gone are the days when FIFA would look to bypass criticism or embarrassment over its actions by essentially saying “Nothing to see here, move along, move along.”

      If Blatter thinks he can go back to the pre-5/27 days, he is sadly mistaken. His speech over this matter is not only self-serving but delusional. There is no more “we” after the actions of his co-worker, subordinates and executives at FIFA, it now us, them, the accused and the UN-indicted.

      He is acting much like Nixon did when the Watergate break-in, the slush funds and enemies list were revealed. he didn’t do any of those things, but was the titular head of those who did. When it came time to acknowledged that the buck stops here and he will face impeachment, he fell on his sword and resigned. I think Blatter will do the same.

      • I hope you’re right. Glad the DoJ will continue to investigate FIFA. Looking forward to the day in the not too distant future when the evidence against Sepp becomes so heavy and convincing that he’ll finally resign. Or maybe literally fall on a sword. That would be dramatic and awesome.

  6. If he knew about it he is as guilty of a crime and should be removed from office, if he didn’t know about he is incompetent and should be removed from office.

  7. I think Blatter should step down in favor of Chris Christie. He’s much better at this “I didn’t know nothing.”

  8. Some of his members get caught up in Al Capone charges and the guy doesn’t even bat an eye. Either he’s delusion or he knows for a fact that they can’t pin anything on him. The way I see, either Blatter goes or FIFA goes down with him once more information is brought to light.

  9. This is high comedy. If we add in the Robin williams 1994 bit, and his slaptsick falling from the podium routine, I think we have a comedic genius on our hands!

  10. I think Blatter is likely an “end justifies the means” type. He feels he did enough good by bringing soccer to different parts of the world, helping small, poor federations, etc. to justify in his mind the corruption.

  11. “The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I’m sure more bad news may follow.”

    I wonder what he thinks is coming.

    • That really is the point. I think these is almost no way that Blatter took bribes.
      No clue how much he makes, but it could easily be in the $20-40 million per year range.

      He is NOT going to risk that, at least not on anything he could be caught on. He will almost certainly win a 5th term.

      Him handing out money to the world, could be, should be, and sometimes is great. But him handing out money and looking the other way has been a disaster way too many times.

      • You are probably right on his taking bribes, I do not think he did. BUT he made several egregious errors and maybe even be criminally liable.

        First, after the Warner incident, he not only let Warner “walk” by not pursuing the criminality of the matter, but foreclosed all FIFA investigations by “closing” the book after Warner’s resignation. This is very POOR fiduciary management at the corporate level, and should be the grounds for his resignation at the very least.

        Second, By allowing Bin Hammad and Warner to walk and knowing the criminality of their acts and NOT referring evidence immediately to the proper authorities, both in the US and Europe, Blatter and FIFA can be held criminally liable for aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise and under several other US Federal Statues, under Us banking, tax and organized crime laws.

        These are hammers the US has not yet had to use, but will.

        I do not think that Blatter has consulted a good international criminal Attorney as of yet.

        Maybe he can tell Blatter what a world of hurt that is coming his way: re-elected President or not.

      • I wouldn’t get too excited about the US attempting to throw a very powerful, 79-year old Swiss man in an American jail, even if they did have strong and provable evidence against him.

        I think many of us are overestimating the “hammer” that the US really holds here. All the FBI and DOJ have done so far is take custody of a bunch of relatively unimportant guys, most of whom had track records so filthy that even FIFA had punished them internally. Blatter may well have “thrown them under the bus” himself, for all we know.

        Coming after Blatter and the heavy-hitters in ExCo will be a much, much different proposition than what has taken place so far. These guys might be evil, but they are not fools. I doubt seriously that Blatter was “ambushed” by yesterday’s arrests. This happened on his home turf, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he personally handed the authorities the room numbers of the folks that got pinched. They are not essential to FIFA– in fact, they are people he’d probably be happy to be rid of.

        In my mind, there are exactly three scenarios that result in Sepp leaving FIFA:

        1) He steps down- probably as a result of genuine pressure from sponsors (this is still hard to read, but the most likely possibility among unlikely scenarios)

        2) He is defeated in election (again, improbable)

        3) Death (impossible…. he is undead)

        I have no idea how this plays out, and I’m not really even disagreeing with you. But I’d say the chances of Sepp Blatter spending even a second in a US prison are less than Marvell Wynne’s chances of being transferred to Barcelona.

      • As to Sepp taking bribes… this is a RICO investigation… he could be liable merely by his involvement in the “front” operation. He is liable almost regardless of whether he took bribes… if the current DOJ interpretation of RICO act is upheld (and I think they are pushing RICO to the limits with this one).

      • +1,000,000

        Someone knows the federal criminal code and has finally commented on this situation. Thank the soccer gods.

  12. the NY times is leading with the byline on Blatter’s comments that “Blatter says Fifa must police itself”. I won’t presume that he means that Fifa, and only Fifa, can police itself. That delusional. The fact is, the US legal system has gone after corruption in American professional sports- such as the 1919 Chicago White Sox. The only way to avoid this would be for Fifa to simply kick out the US Federation, and terminate all business in the US.

    • This has little to do with the US Federation, barring someone getting pulled in on charges. DOJ and IRS are exercising jurisdiction over actions that happened using US financial institutions. The Swiss are likely doing the same. Everyone needs to use a bank of some sort, and this joint crackdown is simply a clever way of nailing down the wrongdoers. It’s akin to tax cases doing in mobsters. There’s just too much business that flows through the USA to try to cut all business ties, too. With other countries similarly sifting through financial and business dealings, the room to operate for them has significantly shrunk.

      • How can you say “this has little to do with the US Federation”? Chuck Blazer the top guy in FIFA for the US for many years ring a bell. Do you really believe that none of the top guys at USSF in the last 24 years had no knowledge of the corruption, didn’t actively take part in all this? Besides a very short comment by USSF we’ve heard nothing from Sunil or any of the other USSF people. Where’s the denial of wrong doing and the outrage and call for change?

      • Yea. Blazer was nicknamed” Mr. 10 ” percent” long before he plead guilty to corruption charges. to think that Gulati or his predecessors knew nothing, is ridiculous. What really matters is what the USSF did with this knowledge, if they turned this info over to the authorities, and they said don’t discuss or announce this until we complete this investigation (which is likely) then I give them a pass.

        Blatter on the other hand, knew full well what was going on, information was passed on to FIFA by many different law enforcement agencies, and Blatter and FIFA chose to “whitewash” it a la the Garcia Report, or give FIFA executives a “pass” by allowing them to resign and taking no punitive action once the resignation was accepted.

        This is NOT cleaning up or self-policing, it is aiding and abetting a known criminal enterprise in order to keep the sponsor money flowing.

        For that, Blatter will have to answer to. If he doesn’t resign now, voluntarily and help with the investigation, not only should ne be prosecuted, but should just serve jail time too.

      • Luke and Bottlecaps, please read vic’s comment because that is the comment to which I was reaponding. As I said, USSF had little to do with this. This referring to vic’s comment about the LEGAL PROCEEDINGS that led to the arrests.

        Outside of reporting them to FIFA, knowledge of a possible bribe can’t be brought to justice by USSF, alone. They can’t even take it to DOJ without some proof of the action occuring in or the money moving through the US. That’s why I pointed out that USSF had little to do with the investigation and arrest of all these people.

        Yes, Blazer was a CONCACAF weasel and he was caught on it. Are you saying that more people ahould have been brought in on that whole ring around Blazer? Where do you think this investigation got its biggest ammo? This whole thing is fallout from Blazer’s arrest.

      • The US Justice Dept has prosecuted”actionable” cases brought to it under US Law and that included Blazer who were reported by Concacaf. The fact that Blazer and Warner moved the Confederation HQ from Guatemala to the US made actions against Concacaf easier as being stateside they fell under US LAW.
        The FBI and the Justice Department gave Blazer the option of turning informer to build a stronger case and develop more evidence of other crimes occurring in the US or abroad. The FBI probably cannot prosecute some of the other corruption crimes outside its jurisdiction.

        Russia for instance, if it did bribe exco members. it would have been in South Africa and/or Switzerland. In fact SA was probably the best place for this to occur to avoid prosecution. South African banks have circuitous routes because of past Apartheid and Arms dealings and could avoid routing through US banks and their Justice system is not set up to prosecute foreign perpetrators. This explains why he Swiss are heading the investigation on the WC awardds and not the US.
        Commebol actions were brought because there was collusion between US companies (sports marketers/promotors) and other FIFA confederations (Commebol) There were no indictments or arrests over the awarded WC locations as the FBI has only tenuous links to that potential crime, whereas the Commebol and Concacaf exco arrests were due to the specific actions that took place on US soil or US banks. In short, the US made no direct arrests of FIFA members outside Commebol and Concacaf although corruption is pandemic in Asia, Africa the Middle east, the FBI had only tenous or less developed linls to those possible crimes. The fact the arrest were made in Switzerland was due to the culprits being all in the same place at the same time than being there for FIFA activities.

      • Blazer, as shady and crooked as he is, wasn’t the target of an investigation or a case. In fact, he was the whistle-blower on the CONCACAF corruption case.

        Blazer did pay a significant fine, but it was chump change compared to the income he had during his time at the helm of CONCACAF.

        Moving the CONCACAF HQ to Florida did give the justice department more leeway, but it also made travel and high-class accommodations more accessible to CONCACAF royalty. The officials were more concerned and lured by the latter and less concerned by the former.

        I’m actually agreeing with you on the fact that CONCACAF and CONMEBOL were wrapped more closely into the DOJ case because of their location. US banks were simply more accessible, more convenient, and more trusted for these transactions. RICO cases haven’t been a big deal since the days of prohibition, so many weren’t too worried about it.

        In the same vein, officials in Asia and Africa likely didn’t route their money through US institutions. That’s why the Swiss investigation is so interesting. There’s a much higher possibility that those officials touched Swiss banks accounts at some point, FIFA’s accounts are in Swiss banks, so let’s keep that in mind.

        The next step beyond is left up to the Swiss. US investigators gave Swiss investigators transaction information. Will they pass along the next step in the map? Imagine if they passed along the transaction information to every government investigative entity that was involved in the same accounts that US investigators identified. That could reach well into almost every country in the world, with media outlets driving the charge.

    • Kicking the US out wouldn’t make the FBI and DOJ go away. And CONCACAF won’t kick the US out because their federations make too much money because of the US.

    • I honestly don’t think he’s delusional – well, maybe only delusional to the fact that we can all see right through him.

      He knows exactly what he’s doing, how to cover his ass, and how to stay in power. The guy’s an evil genius who wears the mask of a dementia patient. It’s like when Uncle Leo was stealing books – “I’m an old man, I don’t know what I’m doing.” Except when Blatter steals, he’s pocketing millions and wielding a heck of a lot of power.

      • IMO, the FBI is giving Blatter rope. I think they have something on him, but are waiting to see if they will be going after the President of FIFA or the former President of FIFA. The tactics probably differ depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s vote.

      • Pretty unlikely that they have something firm and direct on Sepp. Even after the many who have been arrested squeal, there will probably not be anything firm to indict Sepp. What there will be at that point though is enough testimony to show that Sepp was governing an organization that he knew was rotten with corruption and he did nothing to stop it or even that he did things to encourage it. Blatter is already letting on about his defense: “I cannot control every person in FIFA…” That will probably not take him very far when there have been the obvious warning signs/alarm bells that we have all been reading about for years.

      • Agree with you don lamb. They won’t get Sepp. I’m sure they know that. He’s a clever man who knows exactly where his fingerprints are. Not to mention the fact that arresting a 79 year old foreign international is borderline pointless anyway. Anybody who thinks he will die in a US prison is kidding themselves. He won’t spend a day there.

        The point is to leverage the (almost certainly accurate) perception that he enabled decades of corruption, to the point where his name is so poisonous to FIFA and its sponsors that they have no choice but to rid themselves of him on their own,.

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