LONDON, England, June 7- In his first interview since his re election as FIFA’s President, Blatter talked one to one to CNN about restoring FIFA’s credibility and the possibility of re-examining Qatar’s winning 2022 bid.
CNN’s Alex Thomas: Mr. Blatter it’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for FIFA. Congratulations on being re-elected as FIFA’s president for a fourth time. For football fans around the world, why are you the right man to lead world football for the next four years?
Sepp Blatter: I’m the right man because the development of football in the past and what we have done in the years of my presidency that also in the years of all the development together with João Havelange, we are now somewhere where the football needs a little bit more credibility because we came building up football… bringing so much money in to this game… automatically a lot of devils came in to the game and now we are in a situation where really, and I explained to the congress and I’m happy that the congress understood what I have said, we have to go forward and we have to cut all these allegations, criticism, whatever… we can’t do it in one day… but we will do it and then coming back why I am the man there.. Because there was no other possibility. They had to elect a president and at the end I was the only candidate.
Thomas: Would you like to have had a rival for the election? Would it be nice to have an argument, to have a discussion, have a debate about it?
Blatter: You see… I was prepared to, in this duel election. What happens – always if you win without the battle…you have the title without glory.
Thomas: And improving FIFA’s image is your number one priority, is it?
Blatter: I had in my manifesto, if this could be a manifesto, I have said something else…I have said “zero tolerance” is one thing, but I have also said the social and cultural implementation of football is important… but now its to rebuild the image of FIFA, that’s number one, and I have already started.
Thomas: You’ll understand there were a lot of unanswered questions from last week’s FIFA’s congress. Firstly with Mohammed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, they are suspended… FIFA is investigating the allegations, which is why they have been suspended… How surprised were you? These are two man who were close friends down to the years aren’t they?
Blatter: We are friends, but friends going together when it is in the interest of some of the people… for me…going together with people its only for the interest of FIFA… first of all…because I represent FIFA since 36 years…it’s my FIFA…
Thomas: And it’s your family, isn’t it? You talk about FIFA’s football family… are you happy then that Mr. Warner has said he will not release a football tsunami?
Blatter: But I’m not… you know, this is a question of character. If you have a problem inside your family you are not going to disclose if there is anything to be disclosed to the public. And now…
Thomas: But that would help with transparency, wouldn’t it? If things were made more public, it would help FIFA be more transparent?
Blatter: Yeah, but I don’t know what he means by the tsunami! Its easy to say, it’s like allegations made by Lord Triesman, on one side by one of your colleagues in the media and on the other side in England, these are allegations and there is no evidence so if somebody says it’s a tsunami, you know there are also very little tsunamis.
Thomas: What about your General Secretary Jerome Valcke? Is there anything more to look into over the email that was released to the media last week?
Blatter: No! For the time being, nothing… I said I will take this item once the congress is over. The congress is now over, so this week, during these days I will have a look on that.
Thomas: You can’t tell us at the moment how you feel about that sentence when he suggested that Qatar bought the World Cup…
Blatter: No, No! It’s an open issue and I will not comment it for the time being.
(when asked about role of Kissinger /Cryuff)
Blatter: These gentlemen are more or less advisers, they are not the experts but advisers and what they should be also is the kind of council of wisdom which my Executive Committee would not like because they think they are the council of wisdom, but I have also contacted the Spanish singer.. help me with the name
Thomas: So Placido Domingo is one of the names that might join the solution…
Blatter: Placido Domingo will be part … he is happy, he is proud that he is part… as Kissinger also! People say he (Kissinger) is an old man, but he is a wise man…
Thomas: And you said it would be chaired, the solutions committee would be chaired by someone within FIFA
Blatter: Someone in the FIFA, yes!
Thomas: Again it’s the problem that you could have been tempted to have an independent committee too beside the football family…
Blatter: Listen, listen…the football family has asked me to solve the solution inside the FIFA and not outside the FIFA. And if we have to go and open our borders and say everyone can come in… we are a very organized institution with 208 associations, six continents, I’ve put already zero tolerance in the agenda!
Thomas: What will zero tolerance mean in practice? Is it life time ban for anyone found offering a bribe or taking a bribe?
Blatter: No! To say if there is an offense against an ethic code, it is a life ban – everyone has the right to defend itself.
Thomas: But why not guarantee a life ban? Because zero tolerance sounds like zero tolerance… do you see what I mean? People on the outside, you might even like you as FIFA president, but they hear the words but they don’t believe that you would go through with it. That you will say zero tolerance, but
Blatter: If they don’t believe, than they shall wait a little bit until we have our new organization, already with the ethic committee and it will work. Zero tolerance means not that everybody who…it’s not a killing instinct that we have to kill people! Zero tolerance means that if you commit something outside the play of field, you will have a punishment! But it can be a yellow card, it can be a red card, it can be a suspension for two games, three games… life time.
Thomas: You’ve spoken very strongly about how you want to change FIFA for the better. Do you think part of that is looking again at Qatar hosting the Word Cup in 2022?
Blatter: No! I don’t know why! I don’t know why we should go in. Then we shall go to all… then we shall start with Brazil and all before.. I don’t know why we should open something because somebody has said something towards Qatar.
Thomas: There’s not strong evidence with the allegations against Qatar but would it not be fair to the countries that lost out like the USA, Australia and others… just to look in to it one more time?
Blatter: Listen… Let me work now on this new approach of the ethics committee… let me work with this committee of solutions and if this committee of solutions or the ethics committee have the impression that they should do something then let them take the decisions.
Thomas: You’ve been at FIFA for a long, long time… how are you feeling because you had to cope with all the criticism personally over the few last weeks…
Blatter: I was always a centre football and I have received a lot of kicks, pushing and stripping shirts… so I’m used to this in my life and when you are in such a position that I am in, and when you are working so hard, it is obvious that not everything that you are doing pleases everybody.
Thomas: You’ve not had enough? You are determined to see out the four years?
Blatter: No… No…I haven’t had enough…I would say I have received enough kicks… and I hope I want this to stop now, but I want to prove now that we can bring back this credibility to FIFA, to the football… because the world of football is a good world of football.
Courtesy CNN International