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The Rise And Fall Of Sepp Blatter

October 20, 2015

- Grant Whittington

It may appear that FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s chickens have come home to roost. Recently the controversial Swiss figure has once more been at the centre of the headlines as Coca Cola, Budweiser, and McDonald’s, three of footballs biggest sponsors, all called upon Blatter to resign from his post. The request which has been backed by many other governing bodies and other key footballing figures here in the UK has arose due to the consistent and ongoing corruption that appears to be surrounding FIFA with Blatter seemingly at the epicentre of all that goes on.

Criminal proceedings have been brought forward against the 79-year-old and it’s certainly going to be an interesting investigation that will no doubt dig up plenty of dirt and cause plenty of controversial talking points. Blatter has served more than 17 years as President of FIFA after gaining the role back in 1998, and allegations have had a way of following him around.

In 2001 FIFA’s marketing partners ISL went bankrupt with more than $100 million of debt still owing. Further investigations showed that a number of FIFA executives had been receiving kickbacks from commercial deals with ISL. However, Blatter was not directly implicated at the time but just one year later his chief deputy Michel Zen-Ruffinen reported Blatter to the Swiss authorities regarding “financial mismanagement”. Incredibly in spite of a complicated few years and even more accusations of bribery Blatter was re-elected in 2002.

Two years later FIFA released its first ‘Code of Ethics’ and just a further two years following this it was FIFA vice president Jack Warner who was in hot water. Warner was accused of fraud from the reselling of tickets for the 2006 World Cup, held in Germany, via a company his family owned at the time. FIFA eventually cleared Warner of any wrong doing and just one year later Blatter was in power once more after winning another vote and running unopposed.

During his third term things appeared to be getting a little out of hand. More accusations of bribery were made even worse due to the bidding process that ultimately resulted in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments being awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively. There appeared to be plenty of controversy surrounding the decision and particularly the decision to award two World Cup hosts at once which led to further seeming violations of the Code of Ethics.

Since then Blatter has appeared to have grown more and more ignorant making inappropriate comments about racism, homosexuality, and women’s football. And a few reluctant apologies thereafter do not appear to have helped his popularity. Now Blatter faces a raft of charges and now a full investigation into his notorious past can finally begin.

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