July 5 – Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he is “living in peace” despite his ban from the world game but has accused his critics, notably his successor Gianni Infantino, of showing “no respect” for his 41 years at the organisation including 17 in charge.
Blatter also said he has now begun legal proceedings against FIFA for “moral damage” and to reclaim around 60 of his watches he says are still in its possession.
Plans to take action against FIFA and his successor Gianni Infantino were first revealed two months ago when Swiss reports said Blatter wanted to sue them for allegedly spreading “false information” and damaging his reputation.
Blatter, now 83, was banned by FIFA in 2015 over a CHF2 million “disloyal payment” to former UEFA boss Michel Platini and is still serving his six-year sentence that was reduced on appeal.
He has long had a frosty relationship with Infantino and is now back on the offensive telling the BBC in the latest of a series of media interviews that however much FIFA’s own image might have been damaged under his watch, it was important for him to prove he is “an honest man.”
Blatter claims FIFA are still in possession of a number of his personal belongings, including around 60 of his watches.
“We have started now with the lawyer and we are awaiting some answers,” said Blatter who added that if he doesn’t get them, “we will go to the courts.”
“These are my watches, give me my watches,” he said. “It’s important for me. I worked in the watch industry and I made my collection. Forty-one years they were [at FIFA], I could have taken them home, a long time ago.
“Why are they fighting for these watches? There is no respect, there is no respect by the president [Infantino].”
Blatter also said he was willing to speak to French anti-corruption officials investigating the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Last month Platini was taken into for questioning and Blatter says he too is “at their disposal”.
Responding to separate Swiss criminal proceedings that were opened against him four years ago but during which no charges have ever been brought, Blatter insists it is now time to close the case.
“It’s four years, and nothing has happened, this case should be settled, because it’s a non-case,” he said.
“There cannot be a charge, otherwise they would have done it a long time (ago), but I’m not so sure that this will come out now. I want to defend my rights, while I’m alive.
“I’ve not lost my fighting spirit.”
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