Ecclestone comes to Blatter’s defence

Date published: October 17 2015

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone does not believe that FIFA president Sepp Blatter should have stepped down despite being caught up in a corruption scandal.

Blatter is currently suspended pending a criminal investigation in relation to a payment he made to Michel Platini in 2011. Blatter's 17-year long reign at the helm of FIFA will end in February.

Football's governing body is currently caught in a wide-ranging corruption scandal that has resulted in criminal investigations in the United States and Switzerland. Despite this, Ecclestone feels Blatter should not be removed from his post.

"I don’t think he should have ever stepped down, and I don’t think he should have ever been challenged, because it’s because of him we have a lot of countries around the world that are now playing football," he said in an interview with Russian TV channel RT.

"And if these people allegedly have been corrupted to make things happen in their country, it’s good. It’s a tax football had to pay."

Ecclestone is no stranger to controversy, having faced bribery allegations in a German court last year. The Briton would pay a US$100million settlement in order to avoid a long trial and preserve his innocence.

The 84-year-old has never been shy to make controversial comments, and has once again opened himself up to criticism by saying that: “I don’t think there’s any place for democracy, first of all.”

He added: “I think, if you can get people to, more or less, fall in line with what you’re trying to do and support you, then it seems like democracy.”