Sepp Blatter has always been different. He is an intellectual, a philosopher, and a theologian he is a man of principle, who stands by his word; and he is also a man who can be quite detached from reality. On June 8, 2015, the day after being re-elected for the fifth time as president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter gave an interview to Swiss broadcaster RTS. It was not his usual ebullient self but instead a more reflective and melancholic version of the man we have all come to know in recent years. In that interview, which can still be found online through Google Video, this quote captured much attention. “I will step down as soon as new elections take place it’s inevitable. It will happen sooner or later this year."
A brief history of Sepp Blatter’s FIFA tenure
Sepp Blatter has been involved with FIFA for nearly 40 years and has ascended to the very top of the organization. Blatter was first elected as FIFA president in 1998, beating Lennart Johansson of Sweden. In 2002, he was re-elected, and in 2007, 2011, and 2015 he was overwhelmingly re-elected again. Blatter has steered FIFA during a period of dramatic growth and change, including the rise of Asia, Africa, and the Americas as significant powers in the world game, the increasing importance of commercial activities, the growth of women’s football, and the development of the game at all levels. Blatter has been criticized as being a power-obsessed autocrat who is unable to delegate. He has been accused of abusing his position to favor certain countries, including Switzerland, and rewarding his friends.
The Qatar World Cup Scandal
Blatter and FIFA have been at the center of controversy ever since Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Blatter said the decision to award the tournament to Qatar was “a mistake”, but defended the process that led to the Gulf state being chosen for the competition. However, Qatar has been engulfed by allegations of corruption ever since the tournament was awarded in 2010. Blatter was re-elected in June 2015, just before he was taken down by the competing forces of law and media. Blatter’s reign was marked by the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the investigation into the process of awarding the tournament to the Gulf state. There were also allegations of corruption surrounding the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia.
FIFA’s Women Football Development Program
Sepp Blatter has always been interested in women's football. He actively supported and contributed to FIFA’s Women Football Development Program, which was designed to promote the development and recognition of women’s football worldwide. Blatter announced a major initiative, the FIFA Women’s Football Development Programme, designed to increase the popularity of, and respect for, women’s football all over the globe. He wanted to promote women’s football as a competitive sport and acknowledged that it should get as much attention as men’s football. Blatter was never shy about his support for the women’s game, saying that it was crucial to the growth of the sport around the world.
FIFA’s Financial Health
Blatter was always very concerned about the financial health of FIFA. His main objective was to make FIFA financially strong and profitable. He did not see FIFA as a charity organization or as a source of welfare for football but as a business organization that should generate income for its benefit. He was worried about the possible commercial exploitation of football and its players. His main concern was to protect the players from possible exploitation by their employers. Blatter wanted to make sure that the revenue of FIFA would not be threatened and that FIFA would be financially safe in the future. He wanted the commercialization of football to contribute to the development of the game at all levels.
Sepp Blatter has been in the news not just because of his resignation but also because of his disgrace. People may criticize him as a dictator or a power-hungry person, but he is a man who has been able to steer his organization through a period of explosive growth. Blatter helped guide FIFA in a new direction. He increased the number of tournaments and their frequency, particularly for the Under-20, Under-17, and Women’s teams. Blatter failed to negotiate his way around the football corruption scandal and had to step down from the FIFA presidency. Blatter is a controversial and revolutionary figure in FIFA’s history. His resignation will be a significant event for the organization, but it is important to understand that it does not mean the end of his legacy or his involvement with the football world. But in saying all that Sepp Blatter has been a stain on FIFA's history, the like we hope we will never see again!