FIFA president Sepp Blatter denied he is a ‘ruthless parasite sucking the lifeblood out of the world’ as he came to the governing body’s defence against the ‘thoughtless swipe of the pen’.
FIFA has come under attack in recent times as allegations of corruption continue to cloud football’s governing body, with several members of the executive committee departing while investigations continue into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
But the 77-year-old believes the ‘unsung, good work FIFA is working to achieve’ is under threat from repeated attacks from the media that would paint FIFA as a ‘scapegoat’ and him as ‘The Godfather of the FIFA gravy train’.
“Perhaps you think you know who I am, what FIFA is, what we do,'' Blatter said in a prepared speech at the Oxford Union.
“Perhaps you think I am a ruthless parasite sucking the lifeblood out of the world and out of football! The Godfather of the FIFA gravy train! An out-of-touch, heartless schmoozer!
“There are not many names that the media haven't thrown at me in the last few years.
“You would have to have a heart of stone for it not to hurt. You ask yourself, what have I done? Why has it come to this?
“Is FIFA to blame for everything? Are we not just a football organisation working for the good of the game? How did it come to this?
“People like a scapegoat, of course, but how could things have become so twisted?
“As you can see, I am not some overbearing bully who can intimidate my critics with one look and strong arm governments to my will.
“But sometimes it feels like all that unsung, good work FIFA is working to achieve through investing in football and communities around the world has been washed away in the thoughtless swipe of the pen.”
The Swiss native also used the address as a chance to deny that FIFA held any animosity towards the United Kingdom.
England’s bid to bring the World Cup to the United Kingdom for only the second time was quickly defeated in the second round of voting for the 2018 World Cup as the British delegate succeeded in garnering only two votes.
Russia was eventually awarded the World Cup with a second round tally of 13 votes.
“One falsehood I must address is this idea that we at FIFA have something against the United Kingdom and its people,” Blatter said.
“My love for the United Kingdom and its culture and heritage is rock solid. It runs throughout my life.”
He added: “FIFA and I are great admirers and friends of this nation, its people... and its football.
“This is the birthplace of association football. And what a history of great players, great teams... Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, Celtic, Rangers.
“And you share your love of these teams with fans all over the world.
“British football is truly global. Bringing people together and breaking down barriers.
“But there is more. We applaud the strong stand you have taken against the scourge of racism in football and in society.
“We celebrate with you the success of the Premier League in raising the profile of football across the world and driving the game forward.
“And we work hand in hand with the International Football Association Board - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - to decide the laws of the game in football.
“To be an active part of that footballing heritage and that history is one of the greatest honours of my life.”
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.