Sepp Blatter's 10 Biggest Mistakes

Ryan BaileyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2013

Sepp Blatter's 10 Biggest Mistakes

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    After 15 years of embarrassment and ineptitude, Sepp Blatter is still clinging on to his position as president of FIFA.

    This week, the gaffe-prone Swiss executive has admitted something that we have all suspected since it was announced in December 2010 — awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup might be a "mistake."

    As Blatter casts doubt over an extremely important decision made by his organisation, it's time to look back at some of the other "mistakes" the 77-year-old has made... 

The Time He Suggested Eliminating Draws

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    Showing exactly how in touch with the modern game he is, Blatter once suggested that draws should eliminated. 

    "Every game should have a winner," he told a German journalist in 2004. "We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football. That is what I want."

    That, of course, is not what everybody else wants.

    In the run-up to the 1994 World Cup, Blatter also suggested that games should be divided into four quarters, presumably to appease the American broadcast sponsors who were lining FIFA's pockets. 

The Time He Was Accused of Bribery

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    Blatter's career has been blighted by regular accusations of corruption and bribery, but there has never been enough evidence to warrant a punishment.

    In 2002, his presidential re-election campaign was marred by the revelations of CAF vice-president Farah Addo, who claimed 18 African voters had been bribed to vote for him. Addo himself claimed to have been offered $100,000. 

    Blatter was also heavily criticised for turning a blind eye in the ISL bribery case, even though he was not directly implicated. 

The Time He Condoned John Terry's Actions

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    When John Terry's affair with former teammate Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend was revealed in 2010, Blatter thought it would be wise to take a contrarian approach to the furore.

    "If this had happened in the Latin countries I think he would have been applauded," he told reporters in Vancouver

    Suffice to say, his lighthearted approach to high-profile infidelity was a mistake. His quote did explain John Terry's mysterious transfer request to join Corinthians though... 

     

The Time He Called Cristiano Ronaldo a 'Slave'

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    In 2008, Blatter pulled his foot out of his mouth long enough to suggest that Manchester Utd's desire to keep Cristiano Ronaldo from joining Real Madrid was tantamount to "modern slavery."

    Yes, you read that correctly. In Sepp's eyes, an international megastar who gets paid upwards of €250,000 per week to do his dream job is comparable to a slave.

    Unless Madrid start making Ronaldo build a pyramid as Florentino Perez whips him while dressed as a Pharoah, this is not a good parallel.  

     

The Time He Suggested Women Should Wear Short Shorts

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    In a boneheaded attempt to increase the global appeal of the women's game, Blatter suggested the players should wear sexier attire. The Guardian recall his reductive comments from 2004:

    "Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball," he said.

    "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?"

    Understandably, his misguided comments caused offence to approximately 50 percent of the world's population.  

     

     

The Time He Became President of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders

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    When Blatter was elected FIFA president in 1998, he already had experience of ruling a major governing body.

    According to the Irish Independent, Sepp was elected president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders in the 1970s. He led 120 men from 16 countries who were aggrieved at women replacing suspender belts with pantyhose.  

    Most successful international executives would look back on such an embarrassing role as a mistake, but there's a good chance that Sepp still flies the anti-pantyhose flag. 

The Time He Claimed There Was 'no Racism in Football'

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    In November 2011, the English FA was dealing with racism scandals involving John Terry and Luis Suarez. With imperfect timing, Blatter insisted that there was actually no racism in football, and that any offensive remarks should just be brushed over with a friendly handshake. He told 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.

    After attempting to backtrack on the moronic comments, the FIFA president gave the dictionary definition of the word "crass" by staging a photograph of him hugging an anti-apartheid campaigner. 

The Time He Fell off a Stage

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    Laughing at a pensioner falling over isn't the most compassionate thing you will do today, but the time when Sepp took a tumble from the stage could be classed as a mistake of sorts.

The Time He Talked About Scrapping the Offside Rule

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    In 2010, Blatter was inspired by a conversation with his hockey equivalent Leandro Negre to suggest scrapping the offside rule. It was abolished in hockey in the nineties, and Blatter assumed its success could be translated to the beautiful game.

    As you can imagine, absolutely no one else at FIFA agreed. 

The Time He Upset the Gay Community

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    During his FIFA reign, Blatter has offended virtually every community on the planet, and in 2010 it was the turn of the gay community.

    After awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar—something he has already admitted to being a mistake—Blatter responded to concerns over the fact that homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state. 

    When asking what gay people should do, he half-jokingly told the BBC that " they [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities."

    This painfully childish reaction to a very serious question about staging a World Cup in a country that punished homosexuality with execution sparked yet another call for his resignation. 

     

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