(Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter has hit back at his critics, saying he was no “ruthless parasite sucking the lifeblood out of football” and arguing the profits his organisation earn are ploughed back into the global game.
The Swiss, who has been pilloried by the media in recent years following a raft of corruption allegations concerning world soccer’s governing body, gave an impassioned self-justifying speech in an address to the Oxford Union, a debating society at the famous university 55 miles north of London.
“Perhaps you think I am a ruthless parasite sucking the lifeblood out of the world and out of football,” the 77-year-old Blatter told the students yesterday. “The Godfather of the FIFA gravy train, an out of touch, heartless schmoozer.
“There are not many names the media haven’t thrown at me in the last few years and I would be lying to you if it did not hurt… you have to have a heart of stone for it not to hurt.
“You ask yourself, ‘What have I done? Why has it come to this?. Is FIFA to blame for everything? Are we not just a football organisation working for the good of the game?’,” said Blatter.