Sepp Blatter, until recently the President of the world football governing body FIFA, has seen his long time period of association with the federation come to a humiliating end. Blatter’s 40-year virtually end when he and Michel Platini, the two most powerful men in world football, were banned for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee for abusing their positions.
Blatter’s reign as FIFA boss has seen massive corruption in the federation with recent arrests of top hierarchy of the federation. Blatter claimed he had been “killed” and “betrayed” by the ethics committee he had appointed while Platini insisted the bans were “a mockery” – but it looks to be the end of the road for both men’s FIFA careers.
Blatter’s frustration was summed up with these words: “Suspended for eight years for what?” He cannot come to terms with the ruling that he alluded to the fact that he appointed the members of the ethics committee. Yes, it might be true but was the justification of their work to favour the president even in misconduct?
He said “I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA.” But can he really fight especially for FIFA, an organization whose image has badly been soiled under his tenure for massive corruption involved in awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. What has led to the president of football imprisoned from watching football? In 2011, he made a payment which FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert call “disloyal payment” of 2million Swiss francs (£1.3million) made to UEFA president Michel Platini. The committee found him guilty of ethics code breaches. The charges found proven included offering and accepting gifts, conflict of interest, and violating their fiduciary duty to FIFA.
Blatter has been FIFA president since 1998 and general secretary for two decades before that; under his watch, football has increased in global popularity and has become financially successful. In May 2014, Blatter was voted to serve another term but had to step down when allegation of corruption were raised against him. This latest ruling where he is to serve a eight year ban definitely marks the end of a powerful man in world football.
Blatter has made his intention to appeal against the ruling. He believes he has done nothing wrong and sees himself as being unfairly targeted.
“I am sorry that I am a punching ball. I am sorry that as president of FIFA I am this punching ball. I am sorry for football. I am sorry for the 400 plus FIFA team members. I’m sorry about that. I am also sorry about me and about how I am treated in this world of humanitarian qualities.
“Human beings need to be respected. It has created a lot of collateral damage in the families. My family was mocked. I regret I am this punching bag.”
“They tried to kill me now. But I was safe till the last minute. I was nearly there.”
David Bernstein, a former FA chairman feels Blatter will not be able to win any appeal. “He’s a drowning man really, there’s no coming back from this. He’ll fight, I’m sure of that. He’s not a soft touch. He will fight but he is doomed. He is yesterday’s man.”
By Keith Eubulus/eubulusblog.wordpress.com