Angels sang when I was near death in hospital, admits Fifa boss Sepp Blatter
Fifa president says he saw the devil's fire when he was ill in his hospital bed
Without specifying his illness, Sepp Blatter said in excerpts from a television interview that he was near death when he was admitted to hospital for stress-related problems this month.
The suspended Fifa president was "between the angels singing and the devil's fire", he told Swiss broadcaster RTS in his first television interview since leaving the hospital on November 12.
"But it was the angels which sang," Blatter said, adding "happily I never lost consciousness" during the 48 hours when he was most ill.
Parts of the interview were released ahead of tomorrow's full broadcast. The French-language broadcaster said in a news report late on Sunday that the 79-year-old Blatter was treated in intensive care for several days.
Blatter acknowledged he had been under "enormous pressure", with personal legal problems arising from a US$2 million payment of Fifa money he authorised to Uefa chief Michel Platini in 2011 as backdated salary.
Swiss federal prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Blatter in September for alleged criminal mismanagement, over the Platini deal and an undervalued sale of Caribbean TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Blatter was suspended on October 7 by the Fifa ethics committee and is awaiting a full hearing there, likely in December. He faces a ban from soccer of at least several years. His appeal against the 90-day ban should be heard within days at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Platini faces similar hearings, seeking to revive his stalled bid to succeed Blatter in the Fifa presidential election on February 26.
Blatter insisted to RTS that Platini, his former protégé and the Uefa president, is "an honest man" who should be cleared of wrongdoing.
"If he comes back, he will be elected," Blatter said. "And then if he comes back, I'm coming back also."
Blatter repeated his legal defence that a verbal agreement for Platini to receive the money was a valid contract in Swiss law. Platini worked as Blatter's adviser from 1998 to 2002.
The rift between the two deepened as Blatter refused to stand aside and give Platini a clearer run at the top job.
Blatter acknowledged his regret at not deciding to step down after a successful 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Two days before the May 2015 election in Zurich, American and Swiss federal prosecutors revealed their investigations of bribery and corruption implicating Fifa officials.