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FIFA's Blatter slams US action, Europe 'hate' campaign

ZURICH, (AFP) - FIFA leader Sepp Blatter said Saturday he was "shocked" at the way the US judiciary has targeted football's world body and slammed what he called a "hate" campaign by Europe's football leaders.

In an interview with Swiss television, Blatter said he suspected the arrest of seven FIFA officials on Wednesday under a US anti-corruption warrant was an attempt to "interfere with the congress" at which he was elected Friday.

Commenting on the fact that it came only two days before his election, he told RTS: "I am not certain, but it doesn't smell good."

He also condemned comments on FIFA made by US judiciary leaders including Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

"Of course I am shocked. I would never as FIFA president make comments about another organisation without being certain of what has happened."

Lynch said corruption in football was "rampant, systemic and deep-rooted, both abroad and here in the United States."

Blatter noted that the United States had lost the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, and England, another major critic, lost the 2018 World Cup to Russia.

He said the United States was the "number one sponsor" of Jordan, where his challenger for the FIFA presidency Prince Ali bin al Hussein comes from.

Blatter also hit out at UEFA president Michel Platini, who had called for his resignation over the corruption scandals.

"It is a hate that comes not just from a person at UEFA, it comes from the UEFA organisation that cannot understand that in 1998 I became president," he added in the interview.

Asked whether he would forgive Platini for the resignation calls, Blatter said "I forgive everyone but I do not forget."

Blatter won the FIFA presidency on Friday when his challenger Prince Ali withdrew after the first round of voting.