World football’s governing body Fifa is not corrupt, its Swiss president insisted on Wednesday, although it needs a better image after the World Cup hosting contests.
Sepp Blatter fiercely defended his organisation in a Swiss magazine interview and denounced England for reacting like an arrogant bad loser ever since Russia and Qatar were chosen to stage the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
"I'll say it clearly: there is no systematic corruption at Fifa. That's nonsense," Blatter told the Weltwoche weekly. "We are financially clean and transparent."
Fifa’s ethics court suspended two of Blatter's executive committee colleagues from taking part in last Thursday's votes after a British newspaper alleged bribe-taking and vote-rigging.
Within 24 hours of losing the bid to host the 2018 World Cup, England officials also accused several voters of breaking promises of support they gave to a lobbying team that included Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Blatter said he was surprised by the reaction in England, which he called “the motherland of fair play”.
"Now some of them are proving to be bad losers themselves," he said. "I sense in some reactions a little bit of arrogance of the western, Christian kind."
While defending Fifa’s system of choosing World Cup hosts, 74-year-old Blatter said the organisation he has led for 12 years would now "look inward" before making changes.
"We can't go on like this. We need to improve our image," he said. "We also need to set some things straight inside Fifa."
swissinfo.ch and agencies