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´I´ll always be a president´, says Blatter

Sepp Blatter insisted he will “always be a president” as the suspended FIFA boss prepares to officially vacate his position at world football’s governing body.

FIFA will usher in a new era at the presidential election in Zurich on Friday, with Gianni Infantino, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale vying for presidency.

All this comes as Blatter serves out a reduced six-year ban for a “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs (£1.3million) made to UEFA boss Michel Platini in 2011.

Blatter’s original eight-year suspension from all football-related activity alongside Platini was cut down after his long service to the game was taken into account.

The sanction is due to expire in time for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, ironically a tournament controversially awarded to the Arab country amid allegations of corruption under Blatter’s tenure, but the 79-year-old has no plans to return football in a working capacity.

“Enough is enough,” Blatter told the New York Times. “I will always be a president.”

“Every day is a fiesta. I am a happy man. Sometimes sad, yes. But I am a happy man.”

Blatter added: “This ban of six years, eight years, 20 years – whatever it is, it will not be upheld by the tribunal [Court of Arbitration for Sport].

“In their ruling, they took out bribery and corruption – so what is left if there is no bribery and corruption? It’s not logical.

“I have also worked double than Platini – they should have given me four years’ reduction, not two. He is 60 and I am 80.”

“No man is a prophet in his own country,” he continued.

“The Swiss authorities here treated me like I was the last of the gangsters in the world.”

Blatter has taken a back seat leading into Friday’s vote, opting not to publicly endorse any of the five candidates.

But he did seemingly throw his support behind Sheikh Salman, who has been forced to deny claims of human rights violations in Bahrain.

“In his country, it’s a kingdom, so it’s different,” Blatter said. “You know, in the Bible, it is said, Don’t judge, otherwise you will be judged.”

Fri 26 Feb, 2016
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