gives up on FIFA, says fighting for his honor: Bunte
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[December 29, 2015]
By Joshua Franklin
ZURICH (Reuters) - Banned FIFA president
Sepp Blatter feels "abandoned" by the global soccer body and will now
focus on clearing his name, the 79-year-old Swiss told German magazine
FIFA's watchdog last week banned Blatter and UEFA boss Michel
Platini for eight years for ethics violations. Both men immediately
denied any wrongdoing and said they would appeal to the Swiss-based
Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"I now no longer fight for FIFA," Blatter, who led soccer's
governing body for 17 years, said according to a preview of an
interview with Bunte. "They abandoned me. I am now only fighting for
myself and my honor."
Blatter had come out swinging against the ban, holding a news
conference to tell reporters that he was sorry only that the
president of FIFA was being treated as a "punching ball", adding: "I
will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA."
He told Bunte that he was re-energized by the "false claims" against
him. "After Christmas I will start to fight back," Blatter said.
The inquiry by FIFA's ethics committee began after the Swiss
attorney general's office opened criminal proceedings against
Blatter over a 2 million Swiss franc ($2.03 million) payment to
Platini in 2011.
Switzerland's prosecutor is also investigating FIFA's award of the
2018 and 2022 World Cup finals to Russia and to Qatar, a small,
wealthy desert country with no real soccer tradition.
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The ethics committee said it had not found evidence that the
payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election,
constituted a bribe, which meant the men were spared potential
In the United States, prosecutors have indicted 27 current or former
soccer officials over allegations that they ran bribery schemes
connected to the sale of television rights for soccer competitions..
These include eight former FIFA Executive Committee members and the
current heads of both the North and South American federations.
Platter's full interview with Bunte will be published on Wednesday.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)
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