FIFA president Sepp Blatter denied any claims that he was involved in exposing bribery allegations against Mohamed bin Hammam, who is opposing Blatter in next week's vote for FIFA president. Blatter is seeking a fourth term as head of football's organizing committee and bin Hammam, Asian Football Confederation president, is his lone challenger, but bin Hammam was been charged with offering bribes to voters.
Some have questioned whether Blatter helped push the allegations to help him in the June 1 election. FIFA vice-president Chuck Blazer compiled the evidence along with a member of FIFA's legal committee. It is just the latest of many corruption claims against FIFA in recent months. Blatter responded to those claims in World Insider Football.
"I take absolutely no joy in seeing my friends and colleagues of many years dragged before the ethics committee... I take no joy to see men who stood by my side for some two decades, suffer through public humiliation without having been convicted of any wrongdoing: nobody is guilty until a judge has found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. To now assume that the present ordeal of my opponent were to fill me with some sort of perverse satisfaction or that this entire matter was somehow masterminded by me is ludicrous and completely reprehensible."
"It is important that those who apparently know everything start understanding something that their modest intellect seems unable to take on board: I am shocked, saddened and deeply unhappy about the charges levelled against a man whose friendship I enjoyed for many years. It gives me no pleasure to see him suffer public disgrace before an investigation would even have started."
"I am all for the zero-tolerance policy I announced a while back and will continue to fight corruption in football to the best of my ability. But I also admire Chuck Blazer's civic courage and an initiative that resulted from reports he received from within the confederation he administers as its secretary general. And from nowhere else.
"I am horrified by the most recent developments that are shedding a very bad light on Fifa yet again: no sane person can take pleasure in this development, and no decent person will enjoy the troubles of others, be that friend or foe."
Along with bin Hammam, CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president was also implicated in the bribery allegations. Two other members of the Caribbean Football Union were as well. All four people implicated will appear before the FIFA ethics committee on May 29.