Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Blatter heckled during corruption speech but insists he has no regrets

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Apr 2016

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter was heckled as he delivered a speech to students at the University of Basel on corruption in football.

Blatter was interrupted midway through his speech – which was the key talk given during a two-hour debate with a mostly student audience – by a small group of protestors who blew whistles and chanted.

The group was soon evicted, as Blatter said, “shame on you”, as they were escorted from the premises.

The 80-year-old was banned from all football activities by the FIFA Ethics Committee for eight years after they ruled a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.3million) authorised by Blatter to former UEFA president Michel Platini constituted multiple infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).

The ban was later reduced to six years in February.

And Blatter was grilled by one student – who identified as a member of university’s Marxist society – as the floor was opened to questions.

“Money laundering, corruption, bribery: Sepp Blatter’s time in office as FIFA president has been riddled by scandals, which have not been resolved until today, though his involvement is no secret. There is no end in sight,” the unnamed student said.

“His successor Gianni Infantino is just as corrupt. He’s mentioned in the Panama Papers and is known to have been dealing with offshore companies.”

The student went on to mention alleged human rights violations in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup set for Qatar, and blamed capitalism for the corruption scandal which rocked the world governing body last year.

Blatter did not respond and the moderator moved onto the next question, before the Swiss spoke of his time at FIFA, saying he had no regrets.

“I do not regret what I have not done. I regret that I have not done enough to bring back FIFA on the right track,” he said.

“What is important is to say it was wrong to not have had enough power or energy – the will was there – to bring back FIFA on the right track.”

He was angered, however, by suggestions that he knew of corruption in CONCACAF and CONMEBOL by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo during the debate.

“It is not acceptable. It is not acceptable,” Blatter told reporters afterwards.

“I was very surprised at Mr. Ocampo invited here for this seminar and then to make such an accusation.

“Perhaps he is a little bit disappointed because he was the first candidate to be the chair of the ethics committee.”

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