In news set to rock the footballing world, re-elected FIFA President Sepp Blatter has revealed he once declined a bribe when given an envelope stuffed with cash.
The embattled head of football’s peak body made the shock announcement at a press conference this morning. And while he pledged to stamp out any kind of remotely ethical behaviour within the FIFA ranks, Blatter was visibly distressed by his “complete, unflinching moral judgement.”
“I’m saddened to admit that I did have an isolated moment of principled behaviour when I did not take that envelope,” Blatter said.
“I heard rumours inside the committee that my votes were no longer for sale and it was a very stressful time for me and my family.”
Blatter described his unhesitating dismissal of the bribe, which occurred during his days as FIFA secretary-general, as an eternal regret.
“I couldn’t take it because all my pockets were already full; it had been such a busy day of greasy palms,” he said. “I couldn’t even hold the envelope… it just slipped out of my greasy, liver-spotted hands.”
The 75-year-old is to present proposals to FIFA’s Congress next week on dealing with past allegations of moral and ethical behaviour by FIFA officials. He is reportedly keen to act on his pre-election promise to “stamp out all forms of transparency and ethics from the organisation.”
“We can’t rely on our senior committee members to do all the unscrupulous acts… our goal, excuse the pun, is to ensure all levels of FIFA are corrupt,” Blatter told the audience.
“Corrupt officials, corrupt administrators, corrupt valet, corrupt janitors… payola, payola, payola.”
Blatter added that he was “disappointed” to hear that an independent FA-commissioned report had cleared executive committee members Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi of any misconduct.
“They were all working for FIFA in the development programs… if we can’t breed scandal then how do we expect to see our mugs in the papers?”
Blatter paid tribute to the “outstanding work” done by Amadou Diallo and Mohamed Bin Hammam, who have been identified in Parliament as the ‘fixers’ of bribes paid in relation to the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid. Qatar fiercely supports their claim that they bought the cup.
However, Blatter, who is set to step down from the presidency in 2015, remained confident that current UEFA president Michel Platini would be a ready-made replacement.
“I’m sure there are many candidates for president, but Platini is exactly what we need.
“Do you know why French Fries are called French Fries? Because they are the greasiest food in the world. Think about it.”
By Luke Meredith