FIFA president Sepp Blatter insists he has a clean conscience and that anyone who calls him corrupt should be sent to jail.
The 79-year-old announced last month he will step down as president following the corruption crisis that has engulfed football’s world governing body but says he has done nothing wrong personally.
Blatter also said he believes he will go to heaven one day.
He told German magazine Bunte: “I have a clean conscience.
“If somebody accuses me of being corrupt, I ask him whether he knows the meaning of that word. Whoever calls me corrupt will have to prove it, but nobody can prove that because I am not corrupt.
“I am open to correct or positive criticism. I can use that to reconsider if I need to change in the future. But if anybody calls me corrupt because FIFA is corrupt, I can only shake my head. Everybody who says something like that should go to jail.”
The Swiss said the crisis had made him seek solace in religion.
Blatter added: “My faith has given me strength during the last week. I am a religious person and pray, too. I own a golden cross that has been blessed by Pope Francis. I believe I will go to heaven one day. But I believe there is no hell. I disagree with the Pope on that.”
FIFA confirmed on Tuesday night that Blatter will not travel to Canada for the final of the Women’s World Cup.
Blatter would normally present the trophy to the winning team’s captain in Vancouver, but his appearance had been in doubt with Blatter under investigation by the FBI as part of ongoing probes into football-related corruption.
Neither Blatter nor general secretary Jerome Valcke will attend the match “due to their current commitments in Zurich” said FIFA. Blatter has presented the trophy to the tournament winners at every Women’s World Cup since he became president in 1998.
Blatter announced on June 2 he would step down from the FIFA presidency at an extraordinary congress to be held between December and March.