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 By Mark Rodden

Sepp Blatter: FBI investigating FIFA because U.S. missed 2022 World Cup

Sepp Blatter has said American law enforcement agencies only targeted FIFA because the United States missed out on hosting the 2022 World Cup.

The outgoing president of world football's governing body is continuing to fight accusations of corruption during his time in office and is contesting the eight-year ban imposed on him by FIFA's ethics committee.

Blatter, 79, has had to address concerns over the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup.

The Swiss said no votes were bought but argued that then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy had put pressure on UEFA president Michel Platini to back Qatar ahead of the United States.

"If we voted as planned for the United States, the Americans would have had no reason to attack FIFA because they would have had their World Cup," Blatter told L'Equipe.

"And I would have finished the last four years of my mandate peacefully."

Blatter announced his resignation shortly after several FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland on suspicion of corruption last year.

He said he felt "abandoned" and that "everything was collapsing" when the FBI raided a Zurich hotel on May 27 ahead of FIFA's annual congress.

FIFA ELECTION COVERAGE ON ESPN

- Feb. 22-26, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Outside the Lines
- Feb. 23-26; 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2): ESPN FC

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- LIVE on ESPN3: Feb. 26, from 2 a.m. ET

Blatter also questioned Platini's motives after the Frenchman, who had been hoping to replace him as president but has also been banned, suggested before his re-election last May that he should not have been seeking another term.

"I still don't know why he absolutely wanted me to withdraw from the elections," Blatter said.

"I asked him, but he didn't respond. He said to my brother: 'Tell him not to go or else he will finish in prison.' Was he aware that something was going to happen afterwards? History will tell one day.

"At a certain point, he became a bit nasty. He didn't want me to be there any longer. In fact, he was struggling against himself because he should have had the courage to present for election [in May 2015]. He didn't.

"Michel was a better footballer than a politician."

FIFA holds elections for a new president on Feb. 26.

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