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The Dictatorship of FIFA

Sepp Blatter’s press conference yesterday was supposedly intended to confer the image that FIFA has everything under control. However, it simply served to fuel the flames that Blatter sees himself as the supreme leader who does not need to answer to anyone.

Given the revelations of the past few days, the fact that Blatter intends to proceed with the election as the only candidate quite simply defies belief. Proving that he is a master schemer, he has managed to take out two of his most powerful opponents, whilst finding himself cleared of all charges. The sheer lack of accountability and the greed that he has shown in his ever-lengthening tyranny over football’s governing bodies would stand up to comparison with any current dictator.

His delusional image of himself was clear in the press conference he gave yesterday. In appearing alone, rather than alongside other senior members of FIFA, was an early indication of the standing that he sees himself within the organisation.

He began by dismissing the entire report sent to FIFA by the English Football Association, declaring that no element of the report even prompted any further investigation. Given the gravity of the allegations in the report, refusing even to look deeper into it, even if the proceedings concluded that there was no base to the allegations, is a kick in the teeth to hopes of getting to the bottom of the World Cup bidding process.

But it was his responses to some of the questions that are the most disturbing. To answer the question of how he would reform FIFA in the next four years, his statement that there would be zero tolerance and reinforcing the ethics committee seems laughable against the current backdrop. And his declaration that FIFA is not in a crisis, but is merely suffering some difficulties, is simply delusional.

However, the single answer to one particular question sums up his entire view and the reason that many feel that he needs to step aside for the good of the organisation. In response to the question of whether he would give his backing to Jerome Valcke, the Secretary General of FIFA, and whether Valcke was becoming too politicised, he simply answered, “I will not answer this question. I am the President of FIFA, you cannot question me.”

The obvious step to begin to restore faith in the organisation would have been to postpone the election and to have stepped aside until the investigations are complete. Once conclusions have been reached, the election should have been restarted with a new set of candidates. Simply holding the election after everything that has happened and with only one candidate seems only to reaffirm beliefs that Sepp Blatter is running FIFA as his own personal dictatorship and for his own personal good.


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