PARIS: Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed Sunday that he feared he was dying during a recent health scare.
The 79-year-old, who has been banned for 90 days as the ongoing probe into widespread corruption at football’s world governing body, was hospitalised earlier this month suffering from stress.
“I was close to dying. I was between the angels who were singing and the devil who was lighting the fire, but it was the angels who sang,” Blatter told Swiss broadcaster RTS in an interview to be aired on Wednesday.
“The pressure was enormous. At some stage the body just says ‘no’, ‘enough is enough’. But if you are strong psychologically you can resist.”
In September, Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal case against Blatter over mismanagement and a suspicious $2 million payment made in 2011 to European football chief Michel Platini, who is also serving a 90-day ban.
But in excerpts from Wednesday’s interview which were released to the media on Sunday, Blatter hailed Platini as an “honest man”.
“There is an agreement…even in the FIFA regulations that a contract can be made either in writing or orally. It is an oral contract, a contract of work.”
The payment made to Platini in 2011 was reportedly for work the Frenchman carried out a decade earlier.
Despite his suspension, Platini is still in the running to succeed Blatter as FIFA president when the election is held in February.
On the question of whether or not the UEFA president would make a good FIFA chief, Blatter said: “Yes”.
“If he comes back, he will be elected.”