Sepp Blatter protests his innocence in French radio interview

Sepp Blatter (left) and Michel Platini exchanging ideas in Zurich last May
Image: Sepp Blatter (left) insists he and Michel Platini (right) are innocent

Banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter has again protested his innocence as he awaits to hear whether his suspension will stand.

Blatter claims both he and Michel Platini have done nothing ethically wrong over the £1.3m "disloyal payment" that led to the pair being banned from all football-related activity for eight years.

The Swiss has spoken out after attending a hearing of the world governing body's appeals committee in Zurich this week, while UEFA president Platini also had his case heard.

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A verdict will be announced in due course.

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In an interview with French radio station RMC, Blatter said: "Platini is innocent. Like me. There's nothing in there. This is an accounting case, not an ethical matter."

Blatter sanctioned a £1.3m FIFA payment to Platini in 2011 for work conducted between 1998 and 2002.

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The timing of the payment, some years after the work, aroused suspicion and ultimately led to the bans.

Blatter claims an oral agreement existed between the pair which he says is "also a contract" under Swiss law and FIFA's code.

"We must honour it," he said. "That is my philosophy."

If Blatter and Platini fail in their appeals they are expected to take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Platini is innocent. Like me. There's nothing in there. This is an accounting case, not an ethical matter.
Sepp Blatter

Blatter had already announced his decision to stand down prior to his ban and an election to determine his successor will be held next week but he refused to say which candidate he is backing.

"I cannot take sides," he added. "It is not possible."

Blatter also admitted he is dismayed his 41 years at FIFA, 18 of them as president, are ending as they are.

"I am sad for my departure from the presidency of FIFA. You have to see what we did for football," he said.

"Football has never been better than now. It is played everywhere. The departure for me is a sadness."

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