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Former head Blatter says FIFA failed to protect footballfrom interference

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces Qatar as the host nation for the FIFA World Cup 2022

Sepp Blatter, the former president of FIFA, said he had been unable to protect soccer from political and business interference in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, said he had “tried to control the business” but had repeatedly failed “because of the economic value of football and because of politics,” he said in an interview to be published in Die Zeit’s Thursday edition.

Blatter was removed as FIFA president and banned from football in 2015 after criminal proceedings were launched against him by the Swiss Attorney General’s office. He was cleared of fraud by a Swiss court in June. The prosecutors have appealed the ruling.

Recalling how his predecessor Joao Havelange had told him he had “created a monster,” Blatter told Die Zeit: “Maybe he was right.”

Blatter said the recent World Cup in Qatar was emblematic of the larger issue affecting his sport: over-commercialization.

“Attempts are being made to squeeze more and more out of the lemon – for example, with the World Cup finals with 48 teams or now with a (larger) Club World Cup,” he said, adding that FIFA had no business in club football.

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