Sepp Blatter confirmed an investigation into Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid that could lead to a transfer ban and claimed Barcelona ‘went to war’ with FIFA.
The FIFA President, currently suspended from his position over allegations of impropriety in a payment made to UEFA counterpart Michel Platini, has spoken to Mundo Deportivo in advance of an appearance before the governing body’s Ethics Committee.
Blatter’s full interview details his side of the controversy involving Platini and the bans the pair subsequently received, as well as why Blatter announced his resignation as FIFA President.
He has also, however, touched on specifically-Spanish matters, and confirmed investigations into the Madrid clubs and allegations of improper transfers similar to those that gave Barca a two-transfer window embargo.
“Effectively the Disciplinary committee has opened two separate files on Madrid and Atletico for the same offences committed by Barca,” Blatter told MD.
“They’re closed [investigations] and I don’t know the sanctions because they’re independent commissions and I’m currently banned. I can’t even set foot inside FIFA.
“[But] if Barca were penalised for violating FIFA regulations and the Madrid clubs have committed identical offences, it would be normal to punish them in the same way.”
Barca received their punishment for signing under-18 players from abroad in violation of FIFA regulations on the transfer of minors, the ban ending with the winter 2016 window.
Blatter added regarding the Barca affair, which led to bad blood between the Champions League winners and the world governing body, that the Catalans perhaps should have approached the matter in a more conciliatory way.
“Maybe Barca was wrong to go to war with FIFA after seriously breaching the rules,” he suggested.
“It would have been better to try and seek dialogue, which always works better in football.”
Blatter also discussed the upcoming Ballon d’Or ceremony, to be held in January, at which one of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar will be crowned the world’s best player.
“I’m greatly excited to present that this year. Hopefully after my appearance before the Ethics Committee the 90-day suspension will be resolved or, at least, not extended, because it ends on January 5 and the gala is January 11,” he said.
“Do I hope to present a fifth Ballon d’Or to Messi? You understand I can’t favour him, Ronaldo or Neymar. Thankfully I don’t have to vote, because all three are very good.
“It would be history if Messi manages his fifth Ballon d’Or, no one has done that and it would be difficult to repeat it.
“He’s a great player who does wonderful things with the ball, but Cristiano and Neymar are two stars. I have to say Barca’s Brazilian has surprised me with his quality, how he has adapted to the Barca style and to Europe.
“They said many good things about him in Brazil in the last World Cup, in which I followed him closely.”
Blatter also touched on a former Barca player, ex-captain Carles Puyol, and commended the defender for staying within football, but admitted he’d rather see him as a Coach than an agent.