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Sepp Blatter: I blame America and British media


Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

AFP/Getty Images

Sepp Blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has launched an astonishing tirade against US justice authorities and the English media claiming the corruption crisis was designed to unseat him.

Blatter, who beat Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan in Friday's presidential election, claimed it was sour grapes after the USA and England's World Cup bid defeats and also criticised UEFA for a "hate" campaign.

He claimed the arrest of seven FIFA officials on US corruption indictments may have been an attempt to interfere with the congress where he was re-elected for a fifth term as president.

He told Swiss TV station RTS: "No-one is going to tell me that it was a simple coincidence this American attack two days before the elections of FIFA. It doesn't smell right. This has touched me and FIFA.

"Not only did they try to denigrate me but also they used the moment to say, 'This is the time to go'. Then it was said, 'We are going to boycott the congress'. But where are we? Where is the sportsmanship? There are signs that cannot be ignored. The Americans were the candidates for the World Cup of 2022 and they lost.

"The English were the candidates for 2018 and they lost, so it was really the English media and the American movement.

"If they have a financial crime that regards American citizens, then they must arrest these people there and not in Zurich when we have a congress in Zurich.

"The United States, it is the main sponsors of Hashemite kingdom [Jordan].

"This corruption affair is between North America and South America. It was taken to Zurich and they say it is FIFA."

UEFA president Michel Platini had called on Blatter to resign over the scandal, and the 79-year-old hit back.

He added: "The journalists made a deal: Blatter out. It is a hatred not only by one person at UEFA but by the organisation of UEFA that has not accepted that I have been president since 1998. I forgive everyone but I don't forget."

Asked about UEFA pulling out of FIFA or the World Cup, he added: "We cannot live without UEFA and UEFA cannot live without us."

The US justice department has indicted 18 people related to football on corruption charges and authorities there said there could be more to come.

Meanwhile FIFA has confirmed that England's David Gill will not take part in FIFA's executive committee on Saturday morning - he has refused to serve under Blatter following the latest scandal.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has vowed to continue the opposition to Blatter.

Dyke claimed Blatter had been given "a bloody nose'' and that he would be surprised to see him still in power in two years' time.

Blatter won the first round by 133 votes to 73 and, after Prince Ali decided to withdraw ahead of the second round.

Dyke said: "This is not over by any means. To quote the Attorney General this is the beginning of the process, not the end.

"The idea Blatter could reform FIFA is suspect. I'd be very surprised if he was still in this job in two years' time.

"That was a bloody nose for him. It may not have been devastation but he never looked comfortable the whole time.

"It was as though 'you might win this one, but you might not win the whole thing'.

"That was a good result for Prince Ali, who had more than a third of the people in FIFA saying to Blatter 'we don't want you' - and given the powers of patronage that's a good result.''

UEFA president Michel Platini reiterated his desire for change within FIFA, while congratulating 39-year-old Prince Ali for his ''admirable campaign''.

The Frenchman said: ''I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA, change which in my opinion is crucial if this organisation is to regain its credibility."

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said: ''We are disappointed but unsurprised by today's election result and will consult with UEFA to consider our collective position in order to achieve the essential governance changes required within FIFA.''

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