"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play…it is war minus the shooting."
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Mission und Passion, Fussball, Thomas Renggli, Thum, Wed und Weber, 2016. ISBN 978-3-85932-773-3The book so far is only available in German. The book gives a fascinating insight into the man who was at the helm of world football for so many years. On the other hand I would have to say that the whole book is propaganda. The book includes extensive quotations from Blatter and very much gives his side of the story. The author does not evaluate or criticise Blatter at all.
Sepp Blatter joined FIFA in the middle of 1975. When he joined, the organization had 12 staff and was financially very weak. When he left there were 450 employees and a turnover of 1 billion dollars per year. He became president 23 years after joining. That is he joined in 1975 and became president in 1998. His career at FIFA lasted 41 years, or 14991 days and 10 world cups.
Then last year it all came to an end when he was forced to leave office. Blatter summed up his position: “I have been put in a drawer. Perhaps sometime someone will open the drawer.” Of the Ethics Committee, he said: “They are all mad.” He added: “Only the death penalty could have been worse.”
A more thoughtful response was: “I should have stood down in 2014 in Brazil as my daughter and partner wanted me to but how do you do that when the congress gives you a standing ovation and begs you to carry on?”
The unanswered questions about Sepp Blatter’s presidency are essentially: how did he permit the situation in which 20 of the 24 members of the executive committee of FIFA are under investigation by police and in some cases are under arrest? Did he not know that the corruption was occurring – in which case was he a fit person to lead the organization? And if he didn’t know, why did he not stop it?
To accuse the American legal system of making arrests and investigating corruption only because they were not invited to host the 2022 World Cup is plainly nonsense. And his defence against involvement in acts for which former Executive Committee member, Jack Warner, is being prosecuted - that he cannot explain why his signature is on the document, is simply not good enough. There could be a great deal more to emerge before the FIFA story has run its course.