Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter sent a letter to 209 FIFA member associations proclaiming his innocence in advance of his hearing before the FIFA ethics committee on Friday.
In the letter, he compared the corruption allegations against him and his fight to clear his name to the Spanish Inquisition.
“I will continue to fight for my rights—and at the end of this week, I will present my case before the adjudicatory chamber with great conviction and a strong belief in justice,” Blatter wrote. “Although I have been suspended, I am not isolated and will certainly not be silenced.”
Read the full letter below:
On Monday, The Guardianreported that Blatter and Platini will most likely not receive lifetime bans for corruption but could be given at least a seven-year sentence.
Blatter will be questioned over a controversial $2 million payment to former UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011. Both FIFA officials have denied all corruption allegations. Platini says that he was due money for work in 1998 and had not been paid fully until 2011 because of FIFA's financial situation at the time. The timing of the payment also came days before Platini endorsed Blatter for a fourth term as FIFA president.
Blatter has served as FIFA president since 1998 and was re-elected for a fifth term earlier this year. He announced his plans to resign from his post just four days after winning the election as FIFA became the target of a widespread corruption investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Blatter plans to remain FIFA president until the special election is held on Feb. 26, 2016.
- Christopher Chavez