(CNN)He may be exiled from football but former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he was deposed as the leader of the game’s global governing body.
“When I look at which (political) leaders are directly in contact (with me) … people like China, like Russia, like South Africa, like Japan … also European leaders,” Blatter told CNN’s Alex Thomas.
“I also have contact with presidents of associations in Africa,” added Blatter, who is currently serving a six-year ban from football.
“They still ask me now, they say ‘president, now you have to speak. We are all waiting. We are all waiting for your messages. Bring us messages now, president.'”
“I say: ‘Just a little while. I will come back.'”
Blatter was removed from his position at FIFA late last year with the organization engulfed in accusations of bribery and corruption but has stated previously he will challenge that decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
A criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department remains ongoing amidst charges that include money laundering, wire fraud and racketeering over many years by senior figures at FIFA.
The Swiss attorney general’s office also continues to probe the process that saw Russia and Qatar awarded host nation status for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively.
Speaking to CNN, however, the 80-year-old Blatter cut a relaxed figure and a man at ease with life despite the tumult of the past year.
As Blatter sat down for the interview, his daughter Corinne walked over and whispered a few words in his ear in German. Blatter laughed heartily, before playfully slapping her on the backside. “She’s my daughter,” he quickly explained in English.
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