Blatter confident on ban appeal, says 2006 WC probe "German problem"

Former FIFA president Joseph Blatter believes his six-year football ban will be overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"I hope it's all cleared up in the middle of April," Blatter told dpa.

Blatter, who will be 80 on Thursday, has appealed to CAS over an eight-year ban - later reduced to six years - by FIFA's ethics committee.

As a result of the ban he was unable to attend the extraordinary congress of football's governing body which elected Gianni Infantino as his successor in Zurich February 26.

"I had imagined it to be different. At least one could have said goodbye to me at the last congress. We'll make up for that though," he said.

Blatter said he planned to be at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"I will certainly be there in 2018. I have an invitation from President (Vladimir) Putin," he said.

Blatter also indicated that now he was no longer FIFA president he would be prepared to talk in the affair over a German payment to FIFA in connection with the 2006 World Cup.

An investigation in Germany has shown that some 10 million Swiss francs (10 million dollars) ended up in a account held by a Qatari firm owned by banned former FIFA executive Mohammed Bin Hammam.

German football great Franz Beckenbauer, who was president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, this week repeated a claim the payment was arranged with Blatter to secure a grant of 250 million Swiss francs from FIFA for the World Cup.

"I have not commented because I was the (FIFA) president. Now I can say what I know," Blatter said.

Blatter again rejected Beckenbauer's version of events.

"As long as I was in FIFA nothing like that happened. I think that is untrustworthy and wrong. That is absurd," he said.

The money transfers in 2002 "look odd" but "it is a German problem," Blatter added.

Law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, tasked by the German football federation DFB to investigate the affair, said last Friday there was no evidence of vote-buying but it could not be ruled out.

The transactions included a sum of 6.7 million euros from the DFB to FIFA masked as a contribution to a World Cup cultural event which never happened.

It was used to repay the payment allegedly agreed with Blatter which Freshfields said went to Bin Hammam's firm.

Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini were banned for eight years in December 2015 over ethics breaches concerning a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs (about 2 million dollars) made to Platini in 2011.

The FIFA appeal committee last month reduced the ban to six years saying Blatter's and Platini’s services to FIFA, UEFA and football in general were mitigating factors.

Last update: Tue, 08/03/2016 - 14:31
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