The Life and Times of Joseph “Sepp” Blatter
Sepp Blatter was accused of accepting bribes during his term as president of FIFA, turning the World Cup bidding process into an unfair practice and encouraging desperate nations to resort to any means necessary for winning one of these bids.
He battled against video replay and goal-line technologies that led to controversial refereeing mistakes during soccer matches.
Early Life and Education
Blatter hails from Visp in Switzerland and earned his bachelor’s degree in business and economics at Lausanne University. Before joining Fifa as technical director in 1975, he worked in watchmaking, tourism boards, tourist boards of his native canton and Swiss Ice Hockey Federation.
He later went on to serve as general secretary before becoming president in 1998. Unfortunately, during his term he faced accusations of corruption from nations who desired hosting the World Cup tournament.
In 2015, Prince Ali ran for his fifth term despite the corruption scandal and won against UEFA chief Michel Platini who supported Prince Ali to take office. Subsequently, FIFA issued him a ban from all football-related activities until 2027.
Blatter surged to the pinnacle of world soccer by unexpectedly entering the race for FIFA president in 1998. Although his late entry prompted accusations of backroom deals and bribery, he ultimately prevailed and secured victory.
Early in his tenure, Blatter faced controversy due to the collapse of a marketing partner and bitter internal infighting among FIFA executives; nonetheless he managed to remain president for 17 years.
Reelection to his post came despite allegations from sports-marketing officials of payments from South African bids for the 2010 World Cup that may have included payments to FIFA officials from sports-marketing officials allegedly made as payments in return. The FBI raided FIFA headquarters in May 2015 and made allegations regarding corruption pertaining to payments allegedly made between 2010 World Cup bid officials and sports marketing officials from South Africa securing South Africa s successful bid for 2010. Regardless, Jacob Zuma has twice more been elected into his role at FIFA.
Blatter was not found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing; however, he was barred from soccer for eight years by an ethics committee judge who also banned former FIFA vice president Michel Platini and former secretary general Jerome Valcke from football activity.
Achievement and Honors
Blatter is revered by many within football’s fractured family as a hero for growing FIFA into an internationally respected institution and for providing billions of dollars into development funds and expanding World Cup tournaments.
Even amid allegations of corruption, Blatter has refused to step aside as president and even won a fifth term only days after US and Swiss authorities indicted multiple FIFA officials on corruption charges.
Businessman with a degree in economics and business administration, Blatter also worked as head of tourist board in his home canton and general secretary of Swiss Ice Hockey Federation. Fluent in French, English and Italian with good understanding of German.
Joseph “Sepp” Blatter has long been seen as a symbol of corruption within soccer. Often depicted as an arrogant Zurich gnome, Joseph Blatter has also received accolades for his global development initiatives.
He is also exceptionally charitable. He oversees a foundation with assets exceeding 1.1 million Swiss francs that accepts outside donations and distributes them to institutions like Martinsheim care home where his mother died.
As FIFA President Sepp Blatter campaigns for another term in America, he has become the subject of American investigations. But Blatter rejects allegations of corruption centered around confederations rather than himself; calling calls to step aside “futile”. Laughing and joking freely with reporters during interviews he proudly displays gold-encrusted cufflinks for display.
Blatter earned an annual salary and bonuses totalling $6 Million from FIFA during his tenure, as well as receiving several perks such as a luxury Zurich apartment that the organization provided him.
Blatter enjoyed immense financial success despite corruption scandals that rocked world soccer. These issues led to his being banned from all activities related to FIFA for six years, which had dire repercussions for his reputation and finances.
Personal life: He has been married twice and has one daughter. In 1979, he first wed Liliane Biner but they separated shortly thereafter and divorced shortly thereafter. Ten years later in 1981 he wed Barbara Kaser but unfortunately they separated again after she died within that decade. Finally in 2002 he started dating Ilona Boguska who is Polish friend of his daughter.