By Andrew Warshaw

Joao Havelange_-_FIFA_honorary_presidentJuly 15 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter wants his predecessor, Joao Havelange, stripped of his honorary Presidency because of his role in the ISL bribery scandal.

Last week Havelange, now aged 96 and in ailing health, was named as one of the recipients of a series of kickbacks from FIFA's former marketing partner back in the 1990's in return for lucrative World Cup television contracts.

When FIFA published previously secret court documents identifying Havelange and his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira (pictured below), Blatter said only the full FIFA Congress, which does not meet again until next year, could sanction the ageing Brazilian.

But in an interview with a Swiss newspaper published today, he said Havelange, formerly the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until he resigned last December, "has to go."

In the same interview with Sonntags Blick, Blatter, who took over from Havelange in 1998, insisted he knew nothing about the ISL payments until after the company went bankrupt.

He categorically refuted any suggestion that he had personally acted unlawfully.

Organising Committee_Chairman_Ricardo_Teixeira
"The Swiss Federal Court has this week proven wrong all those people, who for years have accused me of having taken bribes," he said.

"Now it is on record what I have always said: I have never taken nor received any bribes."

"Now the same people are trying to attack me from a different angle: 'Okay, he has not taken any bribes but he must have known.'

"Once again, I only knew after the collapse of ISL years later and this is because we [FIFA] instigated the whole matter.

"The people who attack me now know this is the case but still they persist - they want me out."

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