Sepp Blatter: Fifa president 'sorry for football' after eight-year ban for 'disloyal payment' to Michel Platini

Blatter and Platini have been banned from all football-related activities for eight years over a £1.3m payment made by the Fifa president to his vice-president in 2011

Blatter to 'fight' against ban

Sepp Blatter has said that he is “sorry for football” after the Fifa ethics committee banned him from all football-related activities for eight years, and revealed that he will fight against the ban by appealing to the Fifa appeals committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport [Cas] and the Swiss Court.

Blatter held a press conference at the former headquarters of Fifa to address the bans issued to both him and Uefa president Michel Platini, having decided not to attend the hearing in which the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert issued eight-year bans from all football-related activities.

Blatter gave a bizarre and confusing statement in which he claimed the decision goes against the humanitarian example set by the late Nelson Mandela, who joined Blatter for the 2010 World Cup draw held in the same room as the tournament was being staged in South Africa, and he apologised on behalf of Fifa and football for banning him in what he declared as an injustice.

"To say that it's a good day for me or for Fifa would be totally wrong,” Blatter opened.

"Mr Mandela was talking about humanity. Humanity needs no other significance than to respect each other and I say that to celebrate humanity through football was created by this great humanist.

"Let us say that I'm really sorry, I'm sorry that I am still somewhere a punching ball, I'm sorry that I am as president of Fifa this punching ball.

"And I'm sorry for football, that I'm serving for 40 years. Sorry for the 400-plus Fifa team members. But I am also sorry about me and about how I am treated in this world of humanitarian qualities.

"I will fight for me and I will fight for Fifa. I am suspended eight years for what?"

Blatter went on to add that he learned of the ban after the information was given to the media, and he believed that the hearing he attended last week to explain the payment of 2m Swiss Francs [£1.3m] to Platini had “convinced the panel of the tribunal about this situation for an ongoing contract which was never terminated”.

Blatter added: "Together with [my] Swiss lawyer we thought that we had convinced the panel of the tribunal, with Mr Eckert in the chair, about this situation, which was related about the payment by Fifa to Michel Platini for an ongoing contract which was never terminated.

Blatter: "This is irony of fate"

"We are in a so-called oral contract or gentleman's agreement. This agreement was made in 1998, in France, just after the World Cup. Where Mr Platini said he would like to work for Fifa, I said it was wonderful, he said he wanted 1 million Swiss francs, I said OK we can pay you part now, part later.

"What astonishes me now about the decision of the Fifa ethics committee is that they deny, they deny the existence of such an agreement."

Blatter, sat alongside his daughter Corinne, stressed his desire to fight the ban and also insisted that the ethics committee did not have the power to remove him as the leader of Fifa, declaring “I am still the president of Fifa”.

"To suspend the president of Fifa, or high-level functionaries, and to not let them go to the football match - It is not applied to this person."

"Fifa was under attack, and came under attack on 27th of May of this year. The attack against Fifa where it presented Fifa as a mafia-led organisation.

"To protect Fifa I submitted my mandate for re-election. I could have stopped in 2014, that would have been wise, but we cannot rewrite history.

"I will fight and I will fight until the end."

Sepp Blatter's daughter, Corinne, sat alongside him during the press conference

The 79-year-old Swiss went on to remind those in the room of his health scare last month, when he was admitted to hospital with what was described as a breakdown. He signed off his lengthy press conference by insisting that the US-led criminal investigation into Fifa had no effect on the matter, and declared “I’ll be back” before leaving the room.

"I will not speak about my health (but) at a certain time, on the 1st November, without the big help of the medical department, we wouldn't be here.

Sepp Blatter holds a press conference to address his eight-year ban from Fifa

"Thanks to my good heart and I have never lost my mind. I am back, I am doing better, I have the support of my daughter, my love Linda, and a lot of people within Fifa.

"I repeat it is an inside Fifa matter. I deny any American influence in this matter. Thank you for supporting Fifa. I’ll be back."

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