At least Sepp can see the funny side of it all...
Have you ever looked at the current incumbent head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, and wondered whether it was all a joke—wondered if he was truly serious, I mean? Sometimes, especially during those rare moments when the head of the world's footballing authority is asked to give an opinion, Blatter sounds like a creation. It's as if Steve Coogan sold off the rights to an international Alan Partridge recast to some Swiss comedy troll posing as a portly football administrator.
Maybe he's Europe's answer to Larry David?
Good old Sepp, always good for a laugh or two, right? In between being photographed with his close friend, the excellently named Tokyo Sexwale, and resembling the long lost cousin of Susan Boyle, Mr. Blatter has been busy filling the Internet with enough quotes to launch 1,000 memes. That's just what you want from the most powerful man in world football, especially when there are no pressing matters or major issues to attend to such as video refs, dodgy World Cup bids and corruption.
Anyway, as is the reality TV fashion of our time, here are Sepp "the blather" Blatter's best bits from his career at the top. Unfortunately, and in breaking from our modern X-Factored traditions, you can't vote him out. You can't even vote someone else in since at the last FIFA election, Sepp's was the only name on the ballet. Your phone votes, for once, are useless.
In the meantime, we just have to sit tight and wait for Blatter to blow over or get bored. Until such a gale or day comes, we'll just have to hope the future brings us more entertainment in the form of photo opportunities with the likes of London Humpshark and Paris Foreplaysquid. Enjoy.
Blatter evens appears as a villain on certain Super Mario levels.
In 2005, when interviewed regarding unscrupulous club owners and the "pornographic amounts of money" (via BBC) being pumped through the game's top clubs, Blatter worried that: "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).
Come now Sepp, as a man who came into football as a businessman campaigner for the protection of women's pantyhose, you of all people must understand the attraction of the game to wealthy spectators viewing the sport from afar.
Consider FIFA's tournaments and how the influential corporate backers snatch away seats and resources out of the reach of fans and supporters. Whilst their profiteering agenda isn't quite so hidden, the influx of corporate branding and rampant commercialism is surely to the detriment of the sport and the people that make football matches such an entertaining spectacle. Businesses don't care for the heart and soul of the sport but rather its profits as a product.
As the prices for the few tickets available to the public continue to spiral into the stratosphere, Mr. Blatter may find his time better spent looking at how the wealth and influence of big business, with little interest in the games itself, use football to serve themselves rather than the average football lover at the bottom of the pile.
Away from pure profiteering at the expense of fans, a bigger question looms over FIFA's demands when entering a country to stage competitions. To keep their backers sweet and uphold the commercial atmosphere they require, FIFA set up World Cup courts in South Africa to try to sentence local people outside of their own country's legal system.
If that isn't the work of a hidden agenda, what is?
Blatter with Tokyo Sexwale, the inspiration behind Canadian band TokyoSexWhale.
"I could understand it if it had happened in Africa, but not in Italy" (via The New York Times).
Yes, Sepp, because Italy is known for its transparency and lack of corruption. Upon hearing of the EU banking crisis I imagine our learned Swiss friend remarked: "In Greece?! But I thought Germany was the weak link..."
It appears that in this picture, someone came to Sepp Blatter on the day of his daughter's wedding. Its OK though, he's Swiss not Sicilian.
Commenting on John Terry's off the field antics with Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend, Blatter said: "Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries. If this had happened in let's say Latin countries, then I think he would have been applauded" (via The Telegraph).
In one fell swoop Blatter gives with one comment and takes with the other—a class act.
An old friend reminds Sepp of a joke: "you're the head of FIFA."
"Every game should have a winner. When you play cards or any other game, there's always a winner and a loser. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football" (via BBC).
Perhaps Mr. Blatter should return to our first example and review his comments before changing the fundamentals of the game in order to create an easier product to sell.
Blatter was saddened by the news that his plan to ban goalkeepers had been rejected.
"The guardians of the rules are in agreement to lengthen the goals by the diameter of two balls, around 50 cm, and to increase the height by the diameter of one ball" (via The Moscow Times).
Some guardians. How about we figure out how to measure and govern the game around the goal mouth with video technology or other solutions before we go and mess with more footballing fundamentals for the sake of rugby scores for hyperactive minds?
Blatter banned beer inside stadiums to prevent spillages on his fancy new chair.
A comment via Daily Mail, "Why is it good for football to take the excitement away from fans by overcharging them for tickets to see their team?"
Much better that FIFA overcharging fans for tickets to watch their country then, yes?
Sepp Blatter checks the branding on the corporate zeppelin whilst others watch the game.
“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).
I wonder how many slaves were allowed to move on to their dream jobs and the colossal wages that come with it. Linking Cristiano Ronaldo's protracted move away from Old Trafford to his boyhood team, Real Madrid, was truly beyond an "oh dear, Mr. Blatter" moment.
Eyes up Sepp, eyes up!
"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?" (via The Telegraph).
To Sepp, swimwear equals streamlined, equals "performance boost." Yuck.
"Yeah, they've got five of these now but I don't like their chances against the Haitian champions."
"Liverpool have won everything but never a World Championship. I am sure in the future they will once again make the effort to win the tournament. They have had good rhythm in the Premier League this season."
The lack of recent success in the Club World Cup has been the core source for scouse trophy cabinet exasperation over on the red side of Liverpool. The Premiership? Number 19? No thanks. A team of Samoan part-timers need putting in their place...
"How about, instead of a ball, we just agree to give me a big red button with WIN on it?"
"I think the whole world is aware of the efforts we are making against racism and discrimination" (via The Telegraph).
I'd suggest that you're not even aware of your efforts, Mr. Blatter. Does he think racism exists in football?
I would deny it. There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards another, 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 that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.
And on the field of play sometimes you say something that is not very correct, but then at the end of the game, the game is over and you have the next game where you can behave better (via The Daily Mail).
Thanks for clearing that one up, Sepp. Next time a gobby kid abuses another youngster in a school match because he's Chinese or some dopey skinhead drops the N-word for a spillage of his pint, we can all reset our smiles and cheery demeanour, safe in the knowledge that a quick handshake and an understanding and easily forgiving victim will brush such comments aside.
There will be peace in our time—turgid, worthless peace with racial abuse.