Sepp Blatter: Fifa boss should remain in post - Bernie Ecclestone

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter has been suspended while Fifa's ethics committee investigates corruption claims against him

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says Sepp Blatter should remain in charge of Fifa despite facing corruption charges.

Blatter, who is suspended, is under criminal investigation over a payment made to Uefa boss Michel Platini in 2011. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

Ecclestone said: "I don't think he should have ever stepped down. I don't think he should have been challenged.

"If people allegedly have been corrupted to make things happen in their country, it's good."

The 85-year-old added: "It's a tax football had to pay."

He also backed Russian President Vladimir Putin and said there was "no place for democracy".

Ecclestone, who was talking on Russian television,external-link said the reason Blatter deserved support was "because of him we have a lot of countries around the world that are now playing football".

The 17-year Fifa reign of Swiss Blatter, who is suspended for 90 days, ends in February.

Ecclestone, who has become notorious for controversial comments in the past, said he thought Putin was "super", adding: "I'm his best supporter."

Vladimir Putin, Lewis Hamilton, Russian Grand Prix
Vladimir Putin attended the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi last weekend

In the past, Ecclestone has referred to women as "domestic appliances" and praised Adolf Hitler as someone who "got things done".

Ecclestone has run the commercial side of F1 for nearly 40 years and last year faced two separate trials on corruption charges.

A civil case in the UK was dismissed and he paid a German court £60m to end a trial in which he was accused of paying a German banker £26m to ensure a company Ecclestone favoured could buy a stake in F1.

Ecclestone reiterated a view he has previously expressed that "Europe is a thing of the past" and said he was "not very enthusiastic about America".

About the US, he added: "The biggest problem with them is that they believe [that they are the] greatest sort of power in the world" and that "they are a big island, so they are a bit isolated; they are slowly starting to learn what other people in the world do".

The US Grand Prix is in Austin, Texas, next weekend with Ecclestone expected to attend.