FIFA Racism Row: "No Racism" and Other Clangers from FIFA President Sepp Blatter
On the seventh day, the Lord finally took a break from his tireless schedule (of creating heaven and earth and all things between) in order to relieve a rather tricky case of constipation. And thus came to pass the creation of the racist, misogynist, xenophobic ignoramus we know as Sepp Blatter.
Some archaeologists speculate that there was a brief time, during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, when the FIFA president did not offend any minority (or majority) group for several years. However, critics point out that this was because the only other living creatures during that period were outdated dinosaurs just like him.
I considered recoiling in horror (as is the official standard reaction) at the latest verbal gaffe to leave Blatter with egg on his face. Then again, a more entertaining course of action might be to run through some of his finest moments in the job.
So join us for a front row seat to watch the footballing world's shameless, corrupt and perennially drunk avatar of Father Christmas blabber aimlessly with scant regard as to which segment of the footballing world he is about to alienate...
1. Patrice Evra, Roberto Carlos, Anton Ferdinand and Countless Victims of Racism
Let us begin with the most blatant lie since Tiger Woods took his wedding vows. When asked whether he would agree that racism is still an issue in football, Blatter began (via The Guardian):
"I would deny it. There is no racism."
Powerful, curt and to the point. What he said may be an absolute load of bollocks, but at least he stated his opinions in a structured manner without immediately contradicting himself. It may even qualify as a decent response by his usual standards.
Right...go for a clean finish now, Sepp. And then you can leave the press conference and all these journalists and middle-class types far behind as you are chauffeured home to your secret volcano cloud base while your butler takes the private helicopter to the dry cleaners to pick up your cat's waistcoat. OK, what do you have for us?
"There is maybe [a racist act by one] of the players towards another, he has a word or gesture which is not the correct one."
Oooohhhh, so close. Correct me if I'm wrong Sepp, but is that not the very definition of racism? Well, never mind, at least the foot is not completely in his mouth. There is still hope. Here we go, I think he is about to clarify:
"But also the [player] who is affected by [racism], he should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands."
Oh dear God! This was the point at which his lawyer abandoned all pretense, ripped out his one remaining hair and began pacing around backstage repeating to himself, "I'm an excellent driver...I'm an excellent driver...I'm an excellent driver..."
2. Everyone with an IQ Greater Than Franco Di Santo's Goal Tally
"Crisis? What is a crisis? If one of you can describe to me what a crisis is, I can answer" (via The Telegraph).
Shortly before the FIFA presidential elections, Sepp Blatter completely flipped his lid when asked what he intended to do about the crisis situation the organization was facing.
I believe, and I am fairly sure that I speak on behalf of all intelligent life forms here, that two top FIFA executives being charged with bribery, one of them alleging that Qatar bought the 2022 World Cup and the ensuing farce of a presidential election (with Blatter as the lone candidate), would qualify as a crisis.
But of course, Blatter had his own take on things:
"We are not in a crisis, just some difficulties. The difficulties will be solved, and solved inside our family."
Glad that's settled then. Chuck Blazer will take a nap with the fishes, and Mohammad bin Hammam will wake up with a horse's head under his sheets.
And sure enough, as the Spirit of Football Yet to Come rolled over in his grave, Blatter won the farcical election to secure another four years at the helm.
3. Qatar, Russia and the Hosts of the Next Four World Cups
Normally, one would expect Blatter to clam up when asked about corruption or bribery in FIFA, which is why this next comment comes as a bit of a surprise.
No one knows whether he misunderstood the question here, but for some reason Sepp Blatter began talking about the seemingly harrowing experience of collecting team fees for his Sunday league team The Third Strike:
"I received once an envelope, when I was secretary general, and in this envelope there was an amount of money. I couldn't refuse because he put it in my pocket" (via The Examiner).
Besides everyone knows that Blatter's pocket is lined with a laser-activated titanium alloy locking mechanism. Unaware just how much of a prat he sounded, Sepp continued:
"I came home here to FIFA and gave it to the finance director, and he put this money on the account of the Swiss Bank Corporation. Then it was specifically known that please don’t try to give money to somebody who’s in the FIFA..."
Or you will never see it again.
4. Nobody Defies the Big Boss
Then there was the time when Blatter was asked about the increasing numbers of wealthy Russian, American and Arab owners in the game. True to form, the Swiss took a shot at those with little or no history of interest in the game:
"The source of wealth is from individuals with little or no history of interest in the game, who have happened upon football as a means of serving some hidden agenda" (via goal.com).
Ironically enough, less than a year after this statement, Chelsea owner (and Sith Lord of the planet Siberion) Roman Abramovich threw his support behind Sepp Blatter's presidential campaign even though he had never previously ventured as much as an opinion on football.
Correct me if I'm wrong Sepp, but is there not an unspoken code about biting the hand that feeds you? Presumably the fury was directed at the fact that a profit was being made somewhere in the footballing world without Blatter and his minions receiving a cut.
5. Every Single Mexican, English and Premier League Fan (Among Countless Others)
In a couple of decades, Brazilian mothers may tell their kids the story of the "Blatter Witch" to stop them from misbehaving. For years, old Sepp has blocked the implementation of goal-line technology with no reason.
And at the World Cup in South Africa, his shambolic excuse for an argument (below) was exposed as first Mexico, then England (video), then every Dutch opponent and finally Xabi Alonso fans erupted in fury after some absolutely ridiculous decisions.
"I do not think, and the Fifa Congress are of the same view, that you can afford to stop the game, and with the camera system HawkEye showed us, there is a delay in announcing the decision and the situation can change" (via The Telegraph).
The advantage rule has similar consequences, doesn't it not? The referee allows play to continue and if there is no clear advantage within a few seconds, he pulls it back. So what makes a goal any different? Let the play go on, and if the referee gets word in his ear within a couple of seconds, he gives the goal.
What other arguments do you have, Mr. Blatter? Surely you won't claim that money is an issue, seeing as even one of your (more than) 20 bank accounts holds enough to pay for a chip in every ball on earth:
"...the problem is that you have to put the chips in millions of balls made by lots of different companies."
Sigh. Listen pops, even if FIFA have absolutely nothing else (and at this point we can be fairly certain of that), the one thing they do have is money. Your move, Sepp...
6. Female Footballers and All Women in General
Considering his track record, I suppose it was only a matter of time:
"Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts" (via The Telegraph).
Still single, Sepp?
Although unqualified, the rumor persists that this statement elicited a standing ovation from Andy Gray, who commented, "Wow, and I thought I was bad."
And then there was that time Blatter stuck his foot so thoroughly in his mouth that he could have swirled the contents of his stomach with his big toe:
"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."
Judging by the fact that he has a stubby, greedy finger in just about every pie in world football, you would expect him to know that the women's game is played with the same ball. Idiot!
(Sorry, but at some point while cataloging his list of clangers, you lose the will to be funny and just want to smash a wrench right through his ugly face.)
It seems like Blatter recently took a break from offending women, people of color and football fans to look for a real challenge.
And sure enough, he managed to offend an entire spectrum of people with a vague (and more than slightly offensive) analogy between slavery and Cristiano Ronaldo throwing a tantrum to get a transfer 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" (via The Telegraph).
Because everyone knows lifting that $200,000 cheque every week can really be tough on the back. If only players had the right to refuse to play when their manager called on them, or to not show up for training because they are basking in the sun miles away at home (say Argentina, for example).
Really puts Martin Luther King to shame, eh?
8. The Gay Community
Having awarded the hosting rights for World Cup 2022 to Qatar, a nation where homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison, Blatter was asked what this meant for those gay people who purchased tickets and traveled to the tournament.
It could hardly be clearer that Blatter had built up this minefield around himself. But then if anyone can trigger a spectacular implosion causing the maximum offense to the greatest number of people, it is the FIFA president, who did not disappoint:
"I'd say [the gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities" (via The Telegraph).
Say what now? Cue jaw drop.
9. Football Journalists
Defiantly denying that FIFA was in a crisis, Blatter abandoned all pretense of composure on this occasion.
Being pressed for details and probably aware that he did not have much of a reputation in any journalist's book, Blatter went for broke in this press conference by turning on the assembled journalists with this cutting remark:
"Listen. I will not go into discussions individually with people that like to create problems. I just want to tell you one thing...elegance is an attitude, respect is an attitude."
I guess no one told you that not being a corrupt, dictatorial, xenophobic, selectively blind old bat is also an attitude, you unprincipled *******(D-I-Y swear zone)***** hawk!
10. The Gods of Irony
Recently, Blatter cemented his place in the Irony Hall of Fame by shattering the world record for greatest number of ironic statements in a press conference.
Last year, the FIFA supremo got right to the heart of football's most dangerous issue. Two-footed tackles? Elbows? Stamping? Racism? No, it turned out to be the increasingly popular snood:
"It can also be dangerous. It can be like to hang somebody" (via The Telegraph).
At the same time, he acknowledged that there were other (albeit less pressing than the snood) issues in the world of football:
"Unfortunately there are other pressing and unpleasant issues that also must be dealt with: corruption, racism, betting and doping" (via goal.com).
Right, Blatter has already sorted out racism by denying it exists. The next step involves eradicating corruption by simply bribing every sports journalist not to report on FIFA corruption.
While a good laugh is cathartic in the short term, this journey must end in the realization that coordinated, coherent action is an urgent necessity to protect the sanctity of football.
U.S. journalist Grant Wahl made the symbolic attempt to run for the FIFA presidency this year, and organizations such as ChangeFIFA are springing up in a grassroots movement to end Sepp Blatter's choke hold on the world football governing body. And these attempts can only be successful through the full participation of we as fans and lovers of the sport.
So take action today. Whether you blog about it, add your name to an organization protesting FIFA corruption or physically torch the FIFA headquarters (which we do not recommend...*COUGH*do it*COUGH*), every little bit helps in the battle against these dinosaurs who are ruining the beautiful game that we give up hours to watch and play every weekend.