VIENNA (Reuters) – Sepp Blatter, the former boss of soccer’s world governing body FIFA who was ousted during a corruption scandal, has said money risks ruining the sport.
FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, from “all football activities” in 2015 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 by the corruption scandal and information FIFA made public about payments to him that he says was inaccurate.
Blatter told Schweiz am Wochenende that 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.”
He also hoped the Swiss attorney general’s office will 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.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Christian Radnedge)