Money risks ruining football, says former FIFA boss Blatter

Sepp Blatter, the former president of football’s world governing body FIFA who was ousted during a corruption scandal, says money risks ruining the sport.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, from “all football activities” in 2015.

That was after finding him guilty of unethical conduct related to a global corruption scandal which rocked the organisation.

Switzerland’s attorney general is still investigating cases of suspected corruption involving FIFA, which is based in Zurich, dating back to 2014 and Blatter’s presidency.

“People already pay a lot to get into the stadium. Prices are getting higher and higher, because clubs need more money,” Blatter said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende published on Saturday.

The 83-year-old added his belief that viewer numbers are falling this season in the French, Italian, English, Spanish and German leagues.

“That is a bad sign. Football must remain accessible,” he said.

Blatter has told various media that he plans to take legal action against his successor Gianni Infantino over damage done to his reputation.

He said his reputation was damaged by the corruption scandal and information FIFA made public about payments to him that he says was inaccurate.

Blatter said FIFA bodies signed off on all payments made to him, including a bonus of 10 million Swiss francs (7.62 million pounds) he received for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Asked if he would drop his planned lawsuit against Infantino if his collection of luxury watches, which he left at FIFA’s offices, were returned to him, he said: “The watches are of lesser importance. What is important to me is my moral rehabilitation.”

Blatter also expressed the hope that the Swiss attorney general’s office would soon decide whether to bring its case to court or drop it.

“When this is done (I) want to write a book —— my memoirs, more or less,” he added.