EPA Images/Valentin Flauraud
Discredited former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed that he witnessed the fixing of a draw for a European football competition.
Blatter, who is currently suspended from all football-related activities over a dishonest payment made to Michel Platini in 2011, told Argentine newspaper La Nacion that he had seen the draw for a major competition being rigged. Though he declined to name the competition, he suggested that the process had been manipulated by means of cooling the balls.
Though he was adamant that he had never been personally involved in draw fixing – and at pains to emphasise that such a thing would never happen on FIFA's watch – he intimated that UEFA had allowed draws to influenced. Referring to how a blind draw could be fixed, he said: "Balls are put in the freezer before the draw, and at the slightest touch you can tell if the balls are hot or cold. By touching them you know exactly what you have."
Pressed on whether or not he allowed the draw for the 2014 World Cup to be fixed, he said: "The draw was clean down to the last detail. I never touched the balls, though others did. Of course it's possible that they can be signalled, by heating or cooling them.
"It doesn't happen in FIFA. I've witnessed draws at European level where it has happened, but never in FIFA.
"Of course it can be done, but it never happened under my watch, never."
Blatter is currently planning to appeal his six-year ban from football, despite the fact that he is still under investigation as part of a probe into corruption and malpractice at FIFA during his 18-year tenure as president. He went on to tell La Nacion: "I am currently preparing my defence before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"There are always scandals in an organisation, if you go looking for them. There are some crazy people in football at the moment. I don't mean that in a clinical sense, of course.
"I simply mean that some people have lost touch with reality."