Sepp Blatter after the fall: ‘Why the hell should I bear all the blame?’

David Conn has spent years writing about corruption at Fifa. When he was granted an audience with its deposed president over lunch in Zurich, he found there was more to the man than the arch-villain of popular caricature

In any account of the extraordinary rise and fall into corruption of football’s world governing body, Fifa, since the landmark 1974 election of the Brazilian president João Havelange, Sepp Blatter has to be a central figure. His expulsion at the age of 79 by Fifa’s ethics committee, terminating his fifth stint as president, was as precipitous as a fall can be: from being courted by prime ministers and presidents, to a ban from any activities relating to football.

He is serving that ban still, for the 2m Swiss francs (£1.35m) payment in 2011 to Michel Platini, the former president of European football’s governing body Uefa, which both men claimed was back pay for work at Fifa Platini had concluded nine years earlier.

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