Sepp Blatter recently announced his decision to resign as FIFA president. The Swiss’ 17-year spell in charge of the world governing body has been eventful to say the least Here are some of the delightful moments
After Blatter took over, FIFA’s Goal programme was introduced, bringing funding and access projects to countries all across the world. The Goal programme helps to ensure sufficient infrastructure, facilities, technical centres, youth academies and IT projects are developed in FIFA member nations.
Since Blatter took the helm, FIFA has become a phenomenal cash-cow. Between 2007 and 2014 alone, the governing body’s revenue rose from $882 million to $2.096 billion. That raised FIFA’s reserves from $643m to $1.523bn over the same period. While many have questioned their spending of it, Blatter’s FIFA certainly knew how to make money for the world game.
What was Sepp Blatter’s grand idea when asked in 2004 how FIFA could help to promote the women’s game? “Let them play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts.” It was a huge own goal scored by the president.
South Africa 2010/Brazil 2014
The World Cups in South Africa and Brazil were huge successes, with football being taken first to a new home – the first tournament held in Africa – then to its heartbeat. While legacy programmes have been called into question since they took place, the events delivered some of the most memorable moments in the competition’s history.
Russia 2018/Qatar 2022
The decisions to hand the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 to Russia and Qatar caused much controversy relating to the various human rights issues raised throughout the two host nations. Blatter insisted time and again that there were no grounds for the decisions to be reviewed, even after widespread illegitimate practices were unearthed by the Sunday Times and by FIFA’s own anti-corruption investigation
After Qatar was handed the rights in December 2010 to host the 2022 World Cup, the Swiss was asked what might be done about the nation’s ban on homosexuality. His response was unconvincing in the least. “I’d say they should refrain from any sexual activities,” he replied, attracting the ire of the LGBT community and beyond.
Disposition to Racism
Blatter’s inability to judge the mood of the modern world regarding every day social issues was again highlighted when he was asked to make a comment on the issues surrounding Luis Suarez’s ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra in 2011. “There is no racism, but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct. The one affected by this should say ‘this is a game’ and shake hands.”
There were countless claims regarding corrupt practices within the FIFA corridors during Blatter’s spell in charge, culminating with the events of the past week which have forced the 79-year-old’s hand. Football’s image has undoubtedly been scarred by the regular reports of malpractice, and while the president claimed to be a champion for fair play he was ultimately unable to stop the landslide of poor headlines.
Publication of Report on Corruption Document
While it took some persuasion, Blatter’s decision to give the green light to the full publication of the Garcia report was an important step forward. The Executive Committee had originally insisted on only a summary being made public, but after significant pressure the president agreed that an edited version of the full anti-corruption document will eventually be released.
Whatever the reasoning he gave for stepping down, his decision to resign has been widely accepted to be the right one for the sake of football. It came just four days after he had been re-elected for a fifth term which would have seen him remain in charge until 2019. FIFA will now set the wheels in motion for a new election within the year.