Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday he believes that only the Congress of soccer's governing body, and not its Ethics Committee, can bar him from office. Comparing himself to a state president, Blatter told Swiss broadcaster SRF: "If one wants to revoke an elected president, only parliament can ask for that."
In a tense interview, Blatter declined to comment on whether FIFA's ethics investigators had recommended he be handed a life ban, as they had with European soccer boss Michel Platini, who had been the favourite to replace him as head of the global soccer body. Blatter and Platini, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as the sport faces criminal probes in Switzerland and the United States, have both been suspended for 90 days by the FIFA ethics committee while it investigates their conduct. Platini's lawyer said on Tuesday that ethics investigators had sent a report to the judgement panel recommending he serve a life ban. But Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998, would not say whether a similar recommendation had been made for him. "I cannot confirm what is being done. That is confidential, I'd be a bad person if I told you that," he said. Meanwhile, FIFA's ethics watchdog has rejected suspended Blatter's claim. Andreas Bantel, spokesman for the Ethics Committee said, "The FIFA code of ethics applies to anyone who is involved in football worldwide and there are absolutely no exceptions whatsoever."