SEPP BLATTER-1Suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter is not perturbed by the possible further punishment as he argues that only the FIFA Congress, and not its Ethics Committee, can sanction him.

Comparing himself to the president of a country, Blatter told Swiss broadcaster SRF on Wednesday that the Ethics committee has no statutory powers to punish him. “If one wants to revoke an elected president, only parliament can ask for that,” the embattled Swiss argued.

“I’m not a FIFA official; I’m the elected president of the Congress. If one does not agree with the way I do my job, one has to turn to the congress that elected me,” Blatter said.

Asked where it was stated in FIFA statutes that the president is not a FIFA official, Blatter said: “When you look at the definition in the statutes, it says I’m not a FIFA official.”

In the dramatic interview, Blatter declined to comment on whether FIFA’s ethics investigators had recommended he be handed a life ban, as they had with UEFA President, Michel Platini, who had been the favourite to succeed him.

Blatter and Platini, caught in a deepening corruption scandal that has rocked FIFA since June, have both been suspended for 90 days by the Fifa ethics committee while it investigates their conduct.

Platini’s lawyer speculated on Tuesday that ethics investigators had sent a report to the judgement panel recommending a life ban for the UEFA boss.

However, Blatter, who has been Fifa president since 1998, would not say whether a similar recommendation had been made for him. “I cannot confirm what is being done. That is confidential, I’d be a bad person if I told you that,” he said.

Blatter, who is standing down in February after agreeing to lay down his mandate, criticised the Ethics Committee, which he had previously trumpeted as a key weapon in the battle against corruption after it was reformed and strengthened three years ago.

The Fifa presidential election is held every years and the 209 member federations each hold one vote. “It is humiliating for the Fifa president that the ethics committee comes and says, you are suspended and you are not allowed to go to the office anymore,” he said.

“That’s like a police order and that hurts, but it doesn’t kill me. I’ll fight for me and for Fifa.”

Blatter also faces a criminal investigation in Switzerland over a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment from Fifa to Platini.

The payment was made in 2011 for work Platini had completed nine years earlier, the Swiss attorney-general’s office has said, adding Platini was considered “between a witness and an accused person.”

“Contracts can be done in writing or orally,” said Blatter, reiterating comments he has made previously on the matter.

“I had an oral contract with Michel Platini. In 1998, when he was done with the World Cup, I needed him to work for me. At the time, he wanted one million and I said there’s no money to pay one million. He said: you can pay me later.”

Platini, who was on the organising committee for the 1998 World Cup in France, has been barred from the Fifa presidential race, although he could be allowed back in if he wins an appeal against his suspension.

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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