ZURICH - Sepp Blatter has rejected the
notion he 'masterminded' the latest crisis engulfing FIFA and
said on Thursday he was saddened at seeing his presidential
rival facing an ethics committee hearing over alleged bribery.
Blatter, standing for a fourth term in a June 1 election
against Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam,
said on the Inside World Football website that he was horrified
by the turn of events and could not predict the outcome.
"To now assume that the present ordeal of my opponent were
to fill me with some sort of perverse satisfaction or that this
entire matter was somehow masterminded by me is ludicrous and
completely reprehensible," he wrote in his column.
"I am shocked, saddened and deeply unhappy about the charges
levelled against a man whose friendship I enjoyed for many
years," said Blatter who is standing for a fourth term.
"It gives me no pleasure to see him suffer public disgrace
before an investigation would even have started," he added on
In a statement released on Wednesday when FIFA revealed the
allegations, Bin Hammam had pointed an accusing finger as to why
they had come out a week before the election.
"This move is little more than a tactic being used by those
who have no confidence in their own ability to emerge
successfully from the FIFA presidential election," he said.
Blatter acknowledged on Thursday that FIFA had to improve
its dialogue with the rest of the sport and ended an otherwise
hard-hitting column with a bizarre reference to Swiss cows.
Bin Hammam and his fellow FIFA executive committee member
Jack Warner, president of CONCACAF, face a hearing on Sunday
after both were reported for possible violations of the FIFA
code of ethics including the "bribery allegations".
The report came from Chuck Blazer, another FIFA executive
committee member and CONCACAF'S general secretary, following a
meeting at which Warner and Bin Hammam were present on May 10/11
that was linked to the June 1 presidential election.
Blatter added: "I also admire Chuck Blazer's civic courage
and an initiative that resulted from reports he received from
within the confederation he administers as its Secretary
General. And from nowhere else.
"I am horrified by the most recent developments that are
shedding a very bad light on FIFA yet again: no sane person can
take pleasure in this development, and no decent person will
enjoy the troubles of others, be that friend or foe.
"I do not know how these most recent events will affect the
FIFA Congress and global football as a whole, and I refuse to
prejudge what may come of the hearing scheduled for this week
"Whatever the outcome... it must encourage FIFA's leadership
and world football to reinvigorate its determination to do the
right thing and to govern itself without any tolerance for
wrongdoing in the years to come.
"FIFA does not need a revolution. What FIFA needs is
iron-clad laws that are implemented forcefully and allow world
football's governing body to conduct its affairs transparently,
properly and professionally in every respect.
"FIFA needs a much improved dialogue with its fans, the
clubs, the national associations, the professional and amateur
footballers, the administrators of the game and the media around
"I take responsibility for the fact that we have not
communicated to the best of our abilities and at a level that
would have generated understanding and respect for the vast
majority of positive things we have achieved over the years.
"I am hopeful that FIFA can weather the storm of its own
creation and rise from the ashes of individual malfeasance as a
cleansed phoenix to the benefit of all who love our sport.
Blatter ended: "When a Swiss farmer's neighbour has a cow
while he has none, the less fortunate farmer will work twice as
hard so that one day he can buy a cow as well.
"When another farmer, elsewhere, on an island, say, has no
cow but his neighbour does, that farmer will kill the
neighbour's cow out of sheer malice."
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