Blatter defiant despite FIFA's 8-year ban
"Even suspended I am the president" Blatter says
Hour-long news conference followed FIFA Ethics Committee decision
He has been banned from all football activity for eight years by FIFA’s Ethics Committee – but suspended president Sepp Blatter said he was “not ashamed” and insisted: “I (do) not regret.”
Blatter faced the media after news of his ban, and a matching punishment for UEFA president Michel Platini, was announced by FIFA, Monday.
In a rambling, hour-long news conference at FIFA’s former headquarters at Sonnenberg, Zurich, the Swiss insisted he was still president, vowed to fight his punishment and channeled Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying: “I’ll be back.”
Blatter said he was “sorry for me” and believed he was “a punching ball” who had been “tainted in this world of humanitarian qualities.”
And the 79-year-old – who also took a moment to congratulate Barcelona on winning the Club World Cup at the weekend – told reporters from around the world that he was “a man of principles.”
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“This decision to suspend the FIFA president… in all countries where human rights exist - in the Olympic Charter and the Charter of the United Nations… before you are sanctioned, you have the right to be heard,” he said.
“Inside FIFA, people couldn’t understand why the president is suspended. It has created a lot of collateral damage outside of of FIFA. My family were mocked, my daughters and their friends were mocked, my village was in a crisis.
“I believe in God, but I also believe in myself. I will fight to restore myself. To suspend the president of FIFA, it is wrong.”
The Ethics Committee ruled that both Blatter and Platini had broken the FIFA Code of Ethics relating to conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and gifts. The pair were cleared of bribery and corruption allegations.
They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a £1.3m ($2m) “disloyal payment” made to ex-France captain Platini in 2011.