Diego Maradona has called former FIFA president Joseph Blatter a thief, accusing him of corruption while heading the world’s football governing body.
Image File: Diego Maradona.
The football legend said on Thursday that Blatter’s past leadership can be compared to that of a former Argentine government official who was finally imprisoned for corruption.
Maradona said: “When Joao Havelange was president in 1970s, Blatter kept a million U.S. dollars, but no more.” However, the former soccer player added that now Blatter has more money than Jose Lopez. Lopez was Argentina’s public works secretary during Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his wife Cristina Fernandez’s (2007-2015) governments. He was arrested on Tuesday while trying to hide millions of U.S. dollars in a monastery.
The former World Cup champion asked Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General for the U.S. investigating corruption within FIFA, to come to Argentina so that she can see that former Argentina soccer executive Julio Humberto Grondona, already deceased, was the one that taught Blatter to steal.
Maradona, 55, said that the current FIFA president, Switzerland’s Gianni Infantino, was “saddened” by the situation involving the soccer association.
“Infantino has asked me to collaborate. Both in FIFA and in the AFA (Argentine Football Association) dynamite has to be thrown in so that a fresh start can be made. He (Infantino) was saddened. He couldn’t do anything at all from outside (of FIFA),” said Maradona.
The former Argentina coach at the South Africa 2010 World Cup also added that both Blatter and Grondona, the former president of the AFA, banned him from entering the stadiums during the World Cup in Brazil 2014.
“These are mafia-like things that obviously the fearful people, instead of saying wimpish, collaborate with such as Grondona’s son. When I faced him he ran away with his tail between his legs,” said Maradona.