Sepp Blatter: European competition draw was rigged by cooling balls

Sepp Blatter, the disgraced former Fifa president, has claimed he witnessed the fixing of a draw for a European football competition.

Blatter, in an interview with Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, did not elaborate on which competition he believed was rigged, but said he had seen a practice whereby the balls containing team names were cooled to make their identification possible when being picked out.

Blatter said only one team had benefitted from such a practice and he distanced himself and Fifa from any involvement, instead suggesting that it had happened not on Fifa’s patch, but under European governing body Uefa’s jurisdiction.

Asked specifically by La Nacion about the draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which was favourable for Argentina, Blatter said: “The draw was clean down to the last detail. I never touched the balls, something that others did.

“Of course it’s possible that they can be signalled, by heating or cooling them. It doesn’t happen in Fifa, but I’ve witnessed draws at European level where it has happened, but never in Fifa.

“Of course it can be done, but it never happened under my watch, never.”

Blatter explained how a ‘blind’ draw could be fixed, saying, “Balls are put in the freezer before the draw, at the slightest touch you can tell if the balls are hot or cold.

“By touching them you know exactly what you have.”

The Swiss, who turned 80 in March this year, is currently serving a six-year ban from all football-related activity. He is appealing the sanctions through the court of arbitration for sport.

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