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 before being taken to hospital.
“I was very close to death,” he said. “I was between the angels singing and the devil with the fire. But it was the angels who sang.”
Blatter says the collapse was brought on by the stress of the FIFA corruption scandal.
He told Swiss TV channel RTS: “The pressure on me was enormous. If you are strong mentally, you can resist but at some point the body says ‘no’, and in this case the body has reacted badly.”
Fifa’s ethics committee is believed to be seeking bans of several years over what Swiss law terms a “disloyal payment” of £1.35m made by Blatter to Platini in 2011, weeks before the former was re-elected as Fifa’s president. The payment dated back to the period between 1998 and 2002 when Platini was a special adviser to Blatter. He was paid £203,465 a year but both men argued that they had a gentleman’s agreement that Platini would get the extra money at a later date.
Both deny any wrongdoing, with Platini’s candidacy for next year’s elections on hold while the case is investigated. Nonetheless, Blatter believes the former France international can still succeed him in football’s top job.
“Platini is an honest man,” Blatter said. “If he comes back, he will be elected. And then [if] he comes back, I will return too.”