Sepp Blatter: 5 Ways He Can Redeem Himself as FIFA President
SyFy channel’s No. 1 villain of the past decade, Sepp Blatter, was re-elected to serve as FIFA president under the most acrimonious circumstances earlier this year.
The Swiss won a democratic election that had not one candidate standing in opposition.
Since he ascended to the summit of world football in 1998, Blatter has consistently found himself the subject of media scrutiny. At no other time has this held more truth than during this year’s presidential race and the aftermath of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding race.
Indeed, such pressure made Blatter look a broken man in an official FIFA press conference on May 30th.
New rumours have seen the villain of the past decade become linked to yet more controversy.
Newspaper back pages have been swarmed with rumours that Blatter could leave his position before his term expires in 2015.
Fans may therefore be disheartened to learn that he has recently dismissed such rumours as “utter nonsense.”
Whether fans like it or not, it seems certain that Blatter will see out the entirety of his presidential term.
Although progress since Blatter was once again sworn in as president has been slow, it is not impossible for the Swiss to implement some measures that could redeem his name.
This slideshow will look into five issues that Blatter needs to address if he hopes to ease the scrutiny his reign, and FIFA as an organisation, comes under.
Introduce Goal-Line Technology
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Rugby has it. Cricket has it. Even tennis has implemented some kind of review system to assist match officials.
Football remains obsolete.
Despite clinging to past traditions, the sport has continued to expand into new markets and fanbases. This has opened FIFA up to a much bigger array of criticism than what they were vulnerable to a decade ago.
A blame culture has become pandemic, and it seems that referees will continue to feel the wrath of fans until a system is brought in to help them make informed decisions.
The most important factor is that results after 90 minutes are fair. England’s defeat to Germany at the 2010 World Cup and France’s dishonourable triumph over the Irish in a 2009 playoff match are two prevalent examples of teams being denied victory for reasons that go beyond the team’s overall ability.
There is a vociferous backing for goal line technology to be implemented throughout fan forums. If FIFA were to listen to popular demand, they would gain international respect.
Give the Entire FIFA Congress a Vote in Future World Cup Bidding Races
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Since the election process of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host nations, one-third of FIFA’s executive committee has come under investigation for corruption. Two of these members have since been suspended.
It seems absurd that the fate of a host nation rests in the hands of an elite group of 24 members. It is a decision that could affect all members of FIFA, yet all members of FIFA do not get an equal say on important decisions.
FIFA has 208 member associations. Surely it is fair to evenly represent all 208 members by giving each one an equal vote.
What’s more, surely it’s harder to bribe 208 different associations than 24 fat cats?
Hold an Inquiry into 2018 and 2022 World Cup Bidding Race
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It is a mystery how Russia was deemed to have a superior World Cup-hosting bid than England, Spain and Portugal.
It is all the more baffling that Qatar outshone rival bids from Australia and the USA in the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup.
The public suspects foul play, but FIFA are refusing to cooperate.
Günter Hirsch, a former FIFA ethics committee member wrote in his resignation letter from that committee,
"The events of the past few weeks have raised and strengthened the impression that responsible persons in FIFA have no real interest in playing an active role in resolving, punishing and avoiding violations against ethic regulations of FIFA."
Be More Transparent in How They Make Money
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According to an SI article by Grant Wahl, "FIFA is not a private company. It is a nonprofit organization that receives enormous tax breaks from the Swiss government as a result. If FIFA were based in the United States instead of Switzerland, it would be required to publicly report all of its individual directors' fees, just like any other nonprofit organization."
Football fans may feel that they have a say on how their beloved sport is run, but the unfortunate reality is that they do not.
This needs to change. The organisation needs to recognise that they are in control of something that is extremely important to much of the world’s population.
If they are more open about how they make their money, it will ease scrutiny placed on the organisation by the media and fans alike.
Limit the Number of Foreign Players in a Team’s Starting XI
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In 2008, Sepp Blatter brokered the idea of a six-and-five policy, an initiative that means a club cannot field more than five foreign players on the pitch at a time.
This would enable all nations to choose from a bigger pool of talent. If more players are playing regular first-team football in their domestic league, then they will develop into more complete players for their country.
More importantly, it will help limit the divide between the rich and poor clubs. If more importance is placed on developing talent, then smaller clubs will more of a chance to compete for trophies with their rivals with bigger spending power. More competition between clubs will lead to greater entertainment for fans.
Unfortunately, European Law would make it difficult to enforce such an embargo. Instead, it seems that the home-grown measures introduced last season are as far as FIFA will go.