Sepp Blatter claims European draws were fixed with 'hot and cold balls'
Deposed Fifa president Sepp Blatter has claimed some draws for European football competitions were fixed using “hot and cold balls” but insisted it never happened on his watch in Zürich.
The disgraced Swiss is currently in the process of appealing his six-year ban from football through the court of arbitration for sport after being implicated in a wide-ranging probe into corruption during his 18-year tenure at Fifa.
While Blatter did not elaborate on which draws were allegedly interfered with, he claimed balls containing team names were cooled to make identification possible when being picked out.
During an interview with Argentine newspaper La Nacion, Blatter said rigging fixtures “can be done” in a statement which places yet further scrutiny on the practises of those who have held office at both European and world level.
“I never touched the balls," he said. “Of course, you can mark them [by] heating them or cooling them. I witnessed draws at the European level where that happened. But never at Fifa. Of course it can be done.
“You put the balls in the refrigerator beforehand. Just by comparing one and the other when you touch them you can tell the cold balls from the hot. When you touch them, you know what they are.”
The 80-year-old suggested balls were frozen beforehand, making it easy to determine which ones had been tampered with. “Balls are put in the freezer before the draw, at the slightest touch you can tell if the balls are hot or cold. By touching them you know exactly what you have.”
The revelations come as Blatter and two other senior officials were accused by Fifa lawyers of awarding themselves pay rises and bonuses which cost the organisation more than £55m over the course of five years.
Details regarding contracts of Blatter, sacked secretary general Jérôme Valcke and fired deputy secretary general Markus Kattner alledged the former president received £23.3m between 2011 and 2015, the last five years of his regime. Valcke, his right-hand man, is said to have received £22.9m and Kattner £9.5m.
Pressed on the probe by Swiss and US investigators, he added: “Blatter isn't corrupt. They tried to find something on me, but they won't find any evidence I violated any Swiss law. Fifa isn't corrupt. An organisation can't be corrupt. Only men are.”
(© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service