Fifa president Sepp Blatter has admitted he will not leave his native Switzerland as he is afraid of being arrested.
The game’s governing body is at the centre of a massive corruption scandal, with an FBI-led investigation into allegations of bribery dating back to 1991 already having resulted in the arrest of 14 people.
In addition, Swiss authorities have launched an inquiry into the Fifa votes that saw Russia and Qatar awarded the rights to stage the next two World Cups.
Blatter has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but nonetheless announced last month that he will imminently stand down as Fifa president – just days after securing another term.
However, despite reiterating his innocence, Blatter has confessed that he was too scared of being taken into custody by American authorities to risk attending the final of the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
“Not because the Americans have anything concrete against me, but because [arresting me] would cause a public stir,” the 79-year-old told Welt am Sonntag when asked about his travel worries.
“Until everything has been cleared up, I am not going to take the risk of travelling.
“After the tsunami, I just need a bit of time to recover. Self-doubt is one of the biggest enemies of a leader, but I believe in what I am doing.
“It is not my intention to stand as a candidate again. But I am here to fight, not for myself, but for Fifa.
“Criticism doesn’t hurt me. What does hurt are the tirades of hatred. Envy has turned into hatred.
“I am afraid people want to destroy Fifa, which is mine. Everybody has fears – for example, of dying – but I have nothing to fear in view of my work at Fifa. I am not afraid.”