Sepp Blatter has revealed he was “close to death” after collapsing earlier this month.
The 79-year-old, currently suspended from his post as FIFA president, fainted while visiting his parents’ grave with family members.
Blatter spent time in hospital and has since been released, but said the health scare was very serious.
He told Swiss TV channel RTS: “The pressure on me was enormous. It came to the point where my body said: ‘Stop! Enough is enough.
“I was close to death. I was among the angels singing and the devil with the fire.
“But it was the angels who sang.”
Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini are expected to be told this week of the next stage in the FIFA ethics committee proceedings against them. They are facing lengthy bans if found guilty of several breaches of FIFA’s ethics code over a £1.3million payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011.
In the same interview, Blatter insisted that Platini is “honest” and should still be elected as FIFA’s new chief.
Chillingly, he then raised the prospect of his own continued involvement in football’s governing body.
“If he comes back, he will be elected. And then [if] he comes back, I will return too.”
Words, no doubt, that Platini’s opponents could use in their campaigning.
FIFA’s independent ethics committee confirmed on Monday that they have opened “adjudicatory proceedings” against both men, based on the case presented by investigators. A final outcome is expected before Christmas.
A statement from the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee said final reports had been submitted to the committee containing “requests for sanctions” over the 2million Swiss franc payment made to Platini.
It is understood the request also asked for bans of several years based on four potential ethics code breaches: mismanagement, conflict of interest, false accounting and non co-operation with or criticising the ethics committee.
Additional reporting via PA/Reuters