Bernie Ecclestone: Sepp Blatter should remain Fifa president as corruption allegations "a tax football had to pay"

 
Joe Hall
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Sepp Blatter Fifa president
Sepp Blatter plans to resign as Fifa president in February

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has said Sepp Blatter should remain in charge of Fifa despite the corruption allegations engulfing football's governing body.

Blatter announced his intention to resign as president in May after a number of Fifa officials were arrested on charges of corruption, while the organisation has had to fend off accusations of bribery from bids to host the World Cup.

The 79-year-old Swiss is currently serving a 90-day suspension from football's governing body while its ethics committee investigates a £1.35m payment to Uefa boss Michel Platini in 2011.

Read more: F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone pays court $100m to end bribery trial

Yet Ecclestone told Russia Today that allegations of corruption should not tarnish Blatter's reign.

He said:

I don't think he should have ever stepped down, and I don't think he should have ever been challenged. It's because of him we have a lot of countries around the world that are now playing football. If these people allegedly have been corrupted to make things happen in their country, it's good.

It's a tax football had to pay.

The 84-year-old head of Formula 1 also claimed that he was Russia president Vladimir Putin's "best supporter" and that "Europe is a thing of the past".

When asked if there was any place in Formula One for democracy, he replied: "I don't think there's any place for democracy, first of all."

Like Blatter, Ecclestone has previously faced allegations of corruption himself - last year he reached a £60m settlement with a German court to settle a bribery trial. He denied any wrongdoing.

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