Press releases 17th December 2015

J.S. Blatter: To the members of FIFA…

The final highlight of a turbulent football year started in Japan on Thursday, 10 December with the Club World Cup. Even though FIFA is experiencing one of its most serious crises, I am happy to note that day-to-day operations are going very smoothly. All FIFA competitions went off without a hitch (and are going well); all development programmes are running as planned. I extend my thanks and praise to the whole FIFA team in Zurich – and to all member associations.

Calm needs to be restored in our federation – something I also wish for personally. I am bewildered by the insinuations and allegations brought against me by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. I have now been employed by FIFA for 40 years – since 1998 as its President. During this period, I have always performed my duties to the best of my knowledge and belief and at all times faced up to the challenges with respect, honesty and fair play. These are values passed on to me by my parents which I have always lived by, both in a professional and personal capacity:

• Never accept any money which you have not earned.
• Always pay off your debts.

In my current case, the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee must pass judgement on the legality of the bill for two million Swiss francs – stemming from the 1998 agreement between FIFA and Michel Platini – and whose payment (of the remaining amount) was only requested in 2010/2011. I can assure you that: it was legal because it was based on a verbal agreement. And agreements must be adhered to. This payment was put through the full administrative process, the correctness of which was confirmed by all competent FIFA bodies – including the Congress.

However, the way in which the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee has communicated on the current proceedings, demanded the maximum penalty and reinforced public prejudgment has reached a tendentious and dangerous dimension. These proceedings remind me of the inquisition.

I will continue to fight for my rights – and at the end of this week, I will present my case before the adjudicatory chamber with great conviction and a strong belief in justice.

Although I have been suspended, I am not isolated and will certainly not be silenced. I would like to thank you for your gestures of solidarity towards me. Let us hope that 2016 will be a better year for FIFA.

With heartfelt thanks and best wishes:

Yours, Sepp Blatter.

• This letter was originally sent by Joseph S. Blatter to the 209 FIFA member national associations on 14 December 2015. To access the original, click here.

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