Sepp Blatter: Fifa chief says 'he is clean' amid corruption inquiry

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Outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter has told the BBC he is "clean" and "there is no corruption in football" amid criminal investigations at world football's governing body.

Blatter, president since 1998, will step down in February amid an inquiry into allegations of systematic bribery.

The 79-year-old was elected for a fifth term in May but then stood down.

"I did it because I wanted to protect Fifa," he said. "I can protect myself. I am strong enough."

He added: "I know what I have done, what I have not done.

"I have my conscience and I know I'm an honest man. I am clean. I am not a worried man."

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Two criminal investigations into alleged Fifa corruption are still ongoing.

So far, 14 people have been indicted by the United States justice department following claims that bribes and kickbacks of more than $150m (£97m) were handed out over a 24-year period.

A Swiss investigation is also looking into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, leading to speculation that Russia and Qatar could be stripped of football's flagship event and a re-vote ordered.

But Blatter remains defiant and defensive of Fifa.

"The institution is not corrupt," he said, adding; "There is no corruption in football, there is corruption with individuals, it is the people."

In an exclusive interview with BBC sports news correspondent Richard Conway, Blatter also said:

  • He was not "morally responsible" for the likes of former Fifa executive Chuck Blazer, who admitted he accepted bribes in connection with South Africa as 2010 World Cup hosts.
  • The 2010 World Cup was "the cleanest World Cup that has ever been done".
  • "Fifa was the suffering party" but it would emerge positively after the "tsunami" of allegations that had hit it.
  • He recognised "there were a lot of fans using the [media] devices and social media where they said 'kill Blatter'"
  • But he said there were different opinions in Asia and Africa, adding: "I'm at least respected because I and Fifa have done a lot".

Uefa president Michel Platini is the favourite to replace Blatter when he steps down next year.

Asked if he would like to see the 60-year-old former France international take over, Blatter said: "Why not?

"Don't ask the president who is elected to make a comment on the race for the presidency. I don't mind, it's the congress who will decide, not me."