Football: Defiant Blatter says he's 'a fighter'

Fifa chief Sepp Blatter has lodged an appeal against his suspension, after he was handed a 90-day suspension by the body's ethics committee.
Fifa chief Sepp Blatter has lodged an appeal against his suspension, after he was handed a 90-day suspension by the body's ethics committee. PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - Fifa's Sepp Blatter, who is appealing a 90-day suspension from the scandal-tainted world football body, said on Sunday that he would fight to defend his reputation.

"I'm a fighter," he told the Swiss weekly Schweizer am Sonntag. "They can destroy me, but they can't destroy my life's work."

The beleaguered football chief's lawyers lodged an appeal against his suspension on Friday.

At the same time, he asked for further hearings with Fifa's ethics committee, claiming that he was not allowed to give evidence before he was banned.

But ethics committee spokesman Andreas Bantel said Blatter, 79, had been given the chance to put his case on Oct 1.

Fifa has been in crisis since May, when US authorities announced charges against 14 officials and sports marketing executives over bribery allegations amounting to more than US$150 million (S$209 million).

The president of the European football body Uefa, Michel Platini, was also suspended for 90 days, and has also appealed.

Neither Blatter nor Platini are implicated in the wider scandal however.

If their appeals are rejected, they would still have the right to take their cases before the final-instance Court of Arbitation for Sport, based in Lausanne.

The 60-year-old Platini, a frontrunner to succeed Blatter as Fifa chief, denies any wrongdoing in taking a US$2 million payment from the world football body in 2011.

Blatter told Schweizer am Sonntag that he has quit his office at Fifa's headquarters in Zurich and that his daughter Corinne and his girlfriend Linda Gabrielian visited him at his apartment in the Swiss city.

Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, the 69-year-old head of the Confederation of African Football, was named Fifa's acting president on Thursday.