Diego Maradona says the arrest of Fifa officials on corruption charges proves that he was not “crazy” to consistently question football’s governing body.
The former Argentina international, who guided his country to World Cup glory in 1986, has long been outspoken in his criticism of the organisation, which has been rocked by allegations that seven members were guilty of accepting bribes over a 24-year period dating back to 1991.
Maradona now feels vindicated by the indictments issued by the United States Justice Department as a result of an enquiry into Fifa’s affairs by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and queried whether Blatter can be re-elected at Friday’s presidential vote in light of the corruption scandal.
“People said I was crazy,” the World Cup winner told Radio La Red. “Today the FBI revealed the truth.
“The Americans did an impeccable job and now people have to explain what’s been happening.
“The good will remain and I will take care of the bad personally!
“The money they earn ought to be used to build a training camp for African children.
“FIFA has reserves of $1.5 billion (€1.38 billion) and there are players who earn no more than $150 (€138).
“Today there is no football, there is no transparency. Just lie to people and put on a show to re-elect Blatter.
“Now we’ll see if he gets re-elected after everything that happened. Where was Blatter when all this was going on?
“We want a man of football to be in charge. They came and tried to convince me with money, but I earn my money by working, not taking people for a ride.”
Blatter, who has branded the arrests as “unfortunate”, is bidding for a fifth term as Fifa president, having been re-elected four times since first coming to power in 1998.
The 79-year-old’s only challenger for the role is Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan.