Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter Fifa.jpg

Joseph Blatter believes he remains technically president of FIFA despite having been suspended from all activities related to football and replaced by the international football organization's ethics committee in December.

"From a legal point of view I continue being the president of FIFA, because the congress never revoked my mandate," Blatter said in an extensive interview published Monday by Argentina's La Nacion newspaper.

In December, Blatter was suspended for eight years from all activities related to football. The sanction by FIFA's ethics commission was later reduced to six years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"It's more than symbolic!" Blatter said. "Because the statutes say that to vote for a new president you have to revoke the mandate of the previous one. I haven't said it until now because I don't want to make a scene."

Blatter, who was president of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) for 17 years, said that he did not plan to assert his legal argument.

"It's already happened; that's the past," he said. "It is only my small personal compensation, knowing that they did not revoke my mandate."

The former world football boss admitted that he should have left office early.

"I should have resigned after the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. But then [Michel] Platini came and said he would not be a candidate, and everyone in FIFA asked me to stay," he said.

In a recent interview with dpa, Blatter, who is Swiss, rejected the corruption allegations against him.

"Blatter is not corrupt. They tried to find something on me, but they didn't find anything that was in violation of Swiss law," he told La Nacion.

He said he did not violate Swiss law "or any criminal laws."

In another section of the interview, Blatter said that the draw for FIFA tournaments "was clean to the last detail."

"I never touched the balls, something which other people did do. Of course, they can be marked, heating them or cooling them," said Blatter, apparently hinting at UEFA.

"Of course it is technically possible. They never took place in FIFA, but I was a witness to draws at the European level in which that happened. But never in FIFA. Of course it can be done, but in my case, it never happened - never."

Asked how the alleged draw-fixing procedure worked, Blatter said, "the balls are placed in front of a refrigerator. Merely touching them is enough to tell the difference between the cold ones and the warm ones. One knows what one has by touch."

Blatter spoke about Lionel Messi, and recalled the feelings of the Argentine superstar when he received the trophy for best player at the World Cup in Brazil, after losing the final to Germany.

"Messi was talking to himself. He told himself over and over again, 'the best, but not the champion,'" Blatter recalled.

Related stories

Corruption allegations against FIFA and football

Corruption allegations against FIFA

Blatter at FIFA headquarters to appeal eight-year ban

Latest news

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for "The Truth" with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.

Trump blasts Mexico as top diplomat holds talks in Mexico City

US President Donald Trump expressed ambivalence about the US relationship with Mexico as he blasted the country Thursday for what he claims is an unfair trade relationship.

Croat accused of rioting at UEFA 2016 game goes on trial

The trial of Ivan Vucenovic, 21, accused of causing rioting during a European soccer championship match between Croatia and the Czech Republic in Saint Etienne, France last June, began at the Sibenik Municipal Court on Thursday.

Schools blocked, 26 arrests in Paris protests against police abuses

Hundreds of young people took to the streets of Paris on Thursday in protests against alleged police brutality, with local media reporting that 16 secondary schools were forced to shut.

Aid agency: 13 dead among dozens trapped in Libya container

The bodies of 13 migrants were found along with dozens of survivors trapped inside a transport container in Libya's western town of Khoms, an aid agency said Thursday.

Strike grounds hundreds of Alitalia flights

Employees of loss-making Italian airline Alitalia walked off the job Thursday after government-mediated talks failed to break the deadlock, causing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights.

Bosnia requests review of ICJ judgement that exonerating Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina's legal counsel Sakib Softic on Thursday submitted a request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, for a review of a judgement in the genocide suit against Serbia.

Frljic: Warsaw play big hit, ascribes criticism to conservative repression

The media have reported that Polish prosecutors on Wednesday began investigating Frljic's play, which the Catholic Church and the conservative community in Poland have called "blasphemous".