Russian president backs FIFA chief amid corruption scandal engulfing football’s governing body.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes his critics will realise they have been wrong and will recognise his achievements once he has left football’s world governing body.
In an interview with the BBC, the 79-year-old Swiss defended his record at the head of scandal-plagued body and said he was respected in many parts of the world.
Blatter noted he was often subjected to hostile treatment on social media but said he was still widely supported in Africa and Asia.
The election to select a new FIFA president will be held on February 26 in Zurich.
An “extraordinary elective congress” with all 209 member associations invited will decide on the next president of the governing body.
Blatter announced on June 2 that he was standing down, just four days after winning a fifth term with an election victory at a congress overshadowed by the arrest of seven football officials.
“At least [I am] respected because I have done a lot,” said Blatter.
“Not only me but FIFA has done a lot and I have served this FIFA. I am sure this will be recognised, that the big job that has been done by FIFA and by myself… [over] 40 years.
“I am sure people are realising that the job I have done in FIFA is a good job, it’s the right job for the development of football, the right job for education of youth. If there are people who don’t like the organisation or don’t like me, they will realise they have been wrong… they will realise that.”
FIFA was thrown into turmoil when 14 sports marketing executives and football officials, including several from FIFA, were indicted in the US in late May on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150m in payments.
Seven of those accused were arrested by Swiss police in a dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel two days before the FIFA Congress where Blatter was re-elected.
Blatter reiterated that it was individuals rather than FIFA who were under investigation.
“The institution is not corrupt… there is no corruption in football, there is corruption with individuals.”