May 9 – Banned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, out of the spotlight in recent months, has revealed he plans to sue world football’s governing body and his successor Gianni Infantino for allegedly spreading “false information” and damaging his reputation, according to reports in Switzerland.
“I will take legal actions against Gianni Infantino and FIFA,” Blatter, who ran FIFA for 17 years, told Swiss news magazine Weltwoche. “I’ve had it. Enough is enough.”
Blatter, now 83, was banned by FIFA over ethics breaches FIFA in 2015 in the build-up to the FifaGate scandal that brought the organisation to its knees and is still serving his six-year sentence that was reduced on appeal.
His has long had a frosty relationship with Infantino and back in October launched a stinging attack on the current FIFA boss, accusing him of “selling out the people’s game,” alluding to expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams and Infantino’s $25 billion investment plan to change the landscape of world competition.
Blatter, whose public utterances appeared to have dried up more recently, claimed in Wednesday’s interview that statements issued by FIFA regarding alleged payments he had received contained false information.
“The information and the various communiqués put about by FIFA concerning my income are divorced from reality, and consequently, are defamatory,” he told Die Weltwoche.
Among other things, he challenged allegations that following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil he had received a bonus of CHF12 million. “Information that I received this bonus is false,” he said. He also claims he did not receive anything from the FIFA pension fund which he helped set up, unlike other former members of the Executive Committee.
At the time of his ban, Blatter says he had to vacate his post immediately and he now claims he was not even able to take his personal belongings with him. He claims that he asked Infantino to return them on multiple occasions, but that FIFA is still in possession of his valuable watch collection.
In a widely published statement FIFA said it “strongly rejects all Mr Blatter’s groundless claims and can provide all necessary evidence should he want to pursue any legal action. In the meantime, we can confirm that Mr Blatter is receiving his pension in accordance with the Swiss pension system like any other Swiss retired person.”
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