Blatter: I am not a target of FBI probe

Sepp Blatter (AFP)
Sepp Blatter (AFP)

Zurich - FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted on Friday he is not the target of an FBI corruption investigation and that he would visit the United States next year.

"I know this and everybody knows that in the US there is an investigation against former (FIFA) people," Blatter told a group of reporters at the world football body's headquarters in Zurich.

"But it is nothing against me," he added.

An ESPN television documentary this week said that the Swiss official had deliberately stayed away from the United States since his last visit in 2011 because of an FBI investigation into FIFA corruption.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the actions of former CONCACAF Americas regional confederation officials Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago and Chuck Blazer of the United States. Both are one-time members of the FIFA executive committee.

But Blatter insisted he could go to the United States if he wanted to.

"If they want to speak with me there are international relationships," he said.

The FIFA president, who is seeking a new term as president at a FIFA congress this month, said he would go to the United States, which is hosting a Copa America centenary tournament in June 2016.

The special edition of the South American tournament will feature countries from other continents.

Blatter, who is a strong favourite to win a new term at 79, said that age was no problem for continuing in the post.

The Swiss official said he was standing again despite saying in 2011 that it would be his final term.

"At that time I was convinced it was my last mandate. But then times have changed, situations have changed and I can also change my mind."

Blatter did not say this would be his final term but commented: "There is somewhere you have really to stop. Otherwise if you don't stop then somebody else will tell you stop now. I feel good now, but you never know."

FIFA will hold a vote for a president on May 29. Blatter is standing against Dutch football association chief Michael van Praag, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and former Portuguese football star Luis Figo.

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