Joseph Blatter has pledged to fight the eight-year ban handed down to him by FIFA’s Ethics Committee with all means at his disposal. He also reiterated earlier assertions that he had done nothing wrong.
The FIFA president told reporters at a press conference in Zurich on Monday that he would take his case to the Lausanne-based sports court and the regular Swiss justice system in a bid to get his ban on all football-related activities overturned.
“I will fight, for me, for FIFA,” said Blatter. “Banned eight years, for what?” he asked.
“So therefore with my lawyer, I will use the sporting justice now to go forward. We go immediately once again to the (FIFA) Appeal Committee, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, we go also to the Swiss (court),” he said.
The statement came just minutes after the Ethics Committee of football’s world governing body handed down the bans on both him and UEFA President Michel Platini over a dubious 2011 payment worth two million francs (1.85 million euros, $2 million).
In the news conference, an unshaven Blatter made clear that he sees himself not as a guilty party but rather as a victim of the whole affair.
“I am as president of FIFA, this punching ball,” he said. “I am sorry for football. I am sorry to FIFA. I have served them for more than 40 years. I am sorry for 400-plus team members working in FIFA. I’m sorry.”
He also saved a few words for himself, saying, “I’m also sorry about me. How I am treated in this world of humanity.”
Blatter railed against FIFA’s Ethics Committee, which launched the investigation that led to the ban, saying he felt betrayed by its actions.
“I am ashamed about the committee’s decision – and that they don’t go to the evidence,” Blatter said. “I tell you they have no right to go against the president. The president of FIFA can only be relieved of his activities by the FIFA congress.”
He also expressed disappointment that the Ethics Committee had not informed him personally before releasing the statement about his ban.
“Why are the media informed before me?” he asked.
The bans imposed upon Blatter and Platini by the Ethics Committee on Monday took effect immediately, and effectively extended the 90-day provisional suspensions, which had been imposed on the two men back in October.
Blatter said earlier this year that he would step down as FIFA president at an extraordinary congress in order for the football governing body to elect his successor on February 26.