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FIFA CORRUPTION SCANDAL

FOOTBALL

Blatter’s ex-wife defends ousted Fifa leader

Switzerland should be "grateful" to Sepp Blatter, the outgoing FIFA president and Swiss national who has been suspended from world football over ethics violations, his ex-wife was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Blatter's ex-wife defends ousted Fifa leader
One of Blatter's former wives comes to his defence. Photo: AFP

Graziella Blatter-Bianca also told the Swiss German paper Blick that her ex-husband deserved a “bonus” for his contributions to football.
   
“When Sepp Blatter was suspended for eight years for acts that still must be proved, he should also have been given a bonus of 20 years for all the good he did for football,” she told Blick.
   
Blatter-Bianca, the disgraced Fifa boss' third wife and a former dolphin trainer, married Blatter in 2002 before the couple split two years later.
   
“I saw everything that he gave to his job. Fifa will struggle” to find a successor, she told the paper. “Switzerland should be grateful to him.”
   
Blatter-Bianca has mounted previous defences of her former husband amid the scandal within world football that has seen dozens of senior officials charged with corruption by the United States.
   
Blatter and his one time heir apparent Michel Platini were both banned from football for eight years in December by Fifa judges over a disputed 2 million Swiss ($2 million) payment.
   
Blatter is also the target of a probe by Swiss prosecutors over possible “criminal mismanagement” during his tenure at Fifa.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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