Blat­ter blasts In­fantino over lack of re­spect

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Dis­graced for­mer FIFA pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter ac­cused his suc­ces­sor Gianni In­fantino of show­ing a lack of re­spect for him in an in­ter­view with the BBC. The 80-year-old-who on Mon­day lost his ap­peal at the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS) over a six year ban from foot­ball for a two mil­lion Swiss franc ($2 mil­lion/1.8 mil­lion euro) pay­ment to then UEFA boss Michel Pla­tini-said In­fantino had dropped by his house once since he was elected in Fe­bru­ary and Blat­ter had raised mat­ters he thought should be dealt with. “I am def­i­nitely not a happy man (with) what hap­pened with FIFA,” Blat­ter told the BBC.

“I have never seen in any com­pany that the new pres­i­dent... was not pay­ing re­spect to the old pres­i­dent. “Af­ter his elec­tion we had a very good con­tact and he stopped at my house and we had a chat. I told him I have a list of ques­tions that should be solved in Fifa which has not been solved be­fore. “(In­fantino) said ‘I will work on that’ and he never came back.” Blat­ter said In­fantino, who was UEFA sec­re­tary-gen­eral un­der Pla­tini, had not re­turned his phone calls since that meet­ing.

“I have asked him, I have sent him a let­ter and I have his per­sonal num­ber and I was told that it’s still cor­rect. Never never an an­swer never,” said Blat­ter. Blat­ter, who served as FIFA pres­i­dent for 18 years but was sub­ject to with­er­ing crit­i­cism dur­ing his ten­ure, claims he is too trust­ing and as a re­sult he and his team never ex­pected the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion that ex­posed mas­sive cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing se­nior FIFA mem­bers. “I think peo­ple are good, and they are not good,” said Blat­ter. The Swiss, who served as the faith­ful sec­re­tary-gen­eral un­der his sim­i­larly dis­graced pre­de­ces­sor as FIFA pres­i­dent the late Joao Have­lange, also claims he came per­ilously close to death late last year.

An un­usu­ally di­sheveled and un­shaven Blat­ter had al­luded to this when he held a press con­fer­ence last De­cem­ber but he went fur­ther with the BBC. “It was 1 Novem­ber 2015. I was at the ceme­tery in my home vil­lage-where we have a fam­ily grave. And I was there... very, very weak, I couldn’t move,” he said. “They brought me im­me­di­ately to a hos­pi­tal in Zurich and they thought I was go­ing to die in the next hours. Se­ri­ously. “It was a lady doc­tor there and she (asked) me: ‘Who should I phone?’ And I said: ‘No, no, no, I will go home tonight.’ And she said: ‘Oh no.’ “They brought an­other doc­tor and he said: ‘OK calm down, calm down.’ “I had time enough in the hos­pi­tal to think that life is (more) than only foot­ball.” — AFP

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