Sepp Blatter's Most Embarrassing Outbursts
FIFA president Sepp Blatter was at it again on Friday, undermining women with the umpteenth embarrassing quote of his time in office.
"We now have three ladies on the board," said Blatter at FIFA's congress in Mauritius. "Say something, ladies. You are always speaking at home, say something now." (Huffington Post)
So much for sexual equality in the global game. Just when FIFA had the chance to announce a positive step, Blatter took a giant leap back to the 1970s.
Does he never learn? The 77-year-old has been FIFA don since 1998 and still not managed to develop a filter for his tactless and offensive comments.
Here are some of his worst...
2004: Women Should Wear Tight Shorts
In January 2004, Blatter undermined the women's game by suggesting female players should dress more provocatively on the field.
His neanderthal argument was that women could flaunt their assets more openly to help increase the global appeal of their sport.
Said Blatter, as per the Guardian:
Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men—such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?
Unsurprisingly, Blatter's comments did not go down well with those involved in the women's game globally.
"His comments are a disgrace," said England ladies player Sue Smith. "A man in such a powerful position as Mr Blatter is taken seriously, and it discredits all our efforts for the female game to be taken seriously." (Free library)
2008: Ronaldo Is a Slave
Cristiano Ronaldo was a disgustingly wealthy footballer, enjoying the spoils of a most fabulous life, when Blatter entered the debate on his desired move away from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
"I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere," Blatter said. (Daily Mail)
Not the wisest choice of words, Mr Blatter. He quickly backtracked (Independent), but the offense had already been caused.
2010: Blatter Upsets the Gay Community
It was controversial enough that Qatar should be awarded the 2022 World Cup in the first place.
Not only is the nation underdeveloped from a football perspective, but there were also concerns as to Qatar's attitudes to homosexuality. As the Guardian reported in 2010, gay sex is outlawed. A report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security goes into more detail.
What Blatter had here was a very sensitive issue. What he did, not for the first time, was open his mouth without thinking of the implications.
"I'd say they [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities," he said when addressing the cultural factors to consider at Qatar 2022. (BBC Sport)
It was a crude attempt to make light of a serious issue, and it was not received well.
Said Juris Lavrikovs of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (sportztimez.com):
This is not a joke, this is a matter of life and death to people. Qatar and more than 70 other countries in the world still criminalize individuals for homosexual relationships, and some countries even punish them by death sentence.
2010: Terry Would Be Applauded in Some Countries
John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy in 2010, after reports emerged of an alleged affair with the ex-girlfriend of his former Chelsea teammate Wayne Bridge. (BBC Sport)
The story took over the tabloids and was a major embarrassment for the English FA, which had installed Terry as the proud torchbearer to lead the national team to the World Cup that summer.
Blatter should have stayed quiet on the matter, but that's not his style.
"Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries," he said of Terry losing the armband (Guardian). "If this had happened in let's say Latin countries then I think he would have been applauded."
Nice work, Sepp—making light of Terry's alleged behaviour and undermining the morality of the entire Latin world in a single sentence.
2011: Racism Can Be Solved with a Handshake
English football was reeling from two high-profile racism incidents when Blatter said the wrong thing in November 2011.
Said Blatter, in an interview with CNN:
There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards the other, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one, but also the one who is affected by that, he should say it's a game, we are in a game. At the end of the game, we shake hands, this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.
Blatter's comments were read as undermining the issue and trying to sweep it under the carpet. He quickly backtracked on them, but not before taking the wrath of the football community at large.
"I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism," tweeted Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand (CNN). "It seems it was just on mute for a while."
A Daily Mail vote saw a staggering 89 percent of readers call for Blatter's resignation.
2013: Women Sexualised Again
In the first of a double-whammy at FIFA's congress in Mauritius, Blatter played the sexism card again.
Dodd didn't seem too offended, but it was yet another example of Blatter engaging his mouth before his brain was in gear.
2013: Women Never Stop Talking
As we touched on in the introduction, Blatter's most recent slip came on Friday at the FIFA Congress.
"We now have three ladies on the board," Blatter announced proudly. "Say something, ladies! You are always speaking at home, say something now!" (Guardian)
I think you'll agree this tweet sums it up nicely.
Sepp Blatter is an embarrassment to the sport. #statingtheobvious— LeanderLastNameNoFit (@LeanderOnFOX) May 31, 2013