ZURICH — Envy and hatred, rather than any illegality, is to blame for Sepp Blatter's reputation being ruined and it will take several people to do the FIFA president's job in future, according to his daughter.
The 79-year-old Blatter rebuffed demands Friday from four FIFA sponsors to quit immediately rather than stay until February's emergency election after being placed under criminal investigation. Blatter is waiting to hear whether he will be suspended before then by FIFA's ethics committee.
Blatter's interrogation by Swiss investigators on Sept. 25 lasted eight hours, daughter Corinne Blatter Andenmatten disclosed in Sunday's edition of Swiss newspaper Blick.
"I was afraid that they would take him away in handcuffs," she was quoted as saying.
"I cannot believe that he'd have to go to jail," she added. "I'm shocked that he's accused of criminal acts. My father is not a criminal. He'd give away his last shirt. He doesn't enrich himself."
Blatter was questioned about broadcasting contracts sold to disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner in 2005 that were allegedly undervalued.
The investigation also centers on whether Blatter approved a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs (now $2.04 million) in 2011 from FIFA to UEFA President Michel Platini for work carried out at least nine years earlier.
The level of detail in the attorney general's statement was "questionable" and amounted to a "prejudgment of my father," Blatter Andenmatten said.
"The media has ruined his reputation" she continued. "Why are they picking on him? What did he do to them? I simply don't know. It's not just envy. It's hatred."
Blatter has spent 40 years at FIFA, rising to secretary general and then being elected president for the first time in 1998.
Although Blatter was voted in for a fifth term in May, four days later he announced plans to quit amid the fallout from the arrest of seven FIFA officials in Zurich ahead of the electoral congress.
Blatter has a reputation for about-turns, but he has insisted he will not stand in the Feb. 26 presidential poll.
"It will take several people to do the job in future," Blatter Andenmatten said.
"His loved ones were FIFA. It was everything to him. As a family we often had to take a step back."