Blatter rejects idea he 'masterminded' crisis

ZURICH - Sepp Blatter has rejected the notion he 'masterminded' the latest crisis engulfing FIFA and said on Thursday he was saddened at seeing his presidential rival facing an ethics committee hearing over alleged bribery.

Blatter, standing for a fourth term in a June 1 election against Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, said on the Inside World Football website that he was horrified by the turn of events and could not predict the outcome.

"To now assume that the present ordeal of my opponent were to fill me with some sort of perverse satisfaction or that this entire matter was somehow masterminded by me is ludicrous and completely reprehensible," he wrote in his column.

"I am shocked, saddened and deeply unhappy about the charges levelled against a man whose friendship I enjoyed for many years," said Blatter who is standing for a fourth term.

"It gives me no pleasure to see him suffer public disgrace before an investigation would even have started," he added on the website.

In a statement released on Wednesday when FIFA revealed the allegations, Bin Hammam had pointed an accusing finger as to why they had come out a week before the election.

"This move is little more than a tactic being used by those who have no confidence in their own ability to emerge successfully from the FIFA presidential election," he said.

IMPROVE DIALOGUE

Blatter acknowledged on Thursday that FIFA had to improve its dialogue with the rest of the sport and ended an otherwise hard-hitting column with a bizarre reference to Swiss cows.

Bin Hammam and his fellow FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner, president of CONCACAF, face a hearing on Sunday after both were reported for possible violations of the FIFA code of ethics including the "bribery allegations".

The report came from Chuck Blazer, another FIFA executive committee member and CONCACAF'S general secretary, following a meeting at which Warner and Bin Hammam were present on May 10/11 that was linked to the June 1 presidential election.

Blatter added: "I also admire Chuck Blazer's civic courage and an initiative that resulted from reports he received from within the confederation he administers as its Secretary General. And from nowhere else.

"I am horrified by the most recent developments that are shedding a very bad light on FIFA yet again: no sane person can take pleasure in this development, and no decent person will enjoy the troubles of others, be that friend or foe.

"I do not know how these most recent events will affect the FIFA Congress and global football as a whole, and I refuse to prejudge what may come of the hearing scheduled for this week Sunday.

"Whatever the outcome... it must encourage FIFA's leadership and world football to reinvigorate its determination to do the right thing and to govern itself without any tolerance for wrongdoing in the years to come.

NO REVOLUTION

"FIFA does not need a revolution. What FIFA needs is iron-clad laws that are implemented forcefully and allow world football's governing body to conduct its affairs transparently, properly and professionally in every respect.