Why I like Sepp Blatter

FIFA president has sparked uproar over his stewardship during World Cup vote scandal but his cocksure response is also his redeeming feature.

    Sepp Blatter has just been speaking at the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

    The FIFA president's words have been transmitted around the world, exiting TV speakers and entering the brains of listeners, where they cause blood vessels to rupture and steam to emit from the ears.

    Sometimes I think I'm the only person who likes this guy.

    Let's leave aside all the disease riddling football's world governing body, and the fact that FIFA delegates have voted overwhelmingly – 172 to 17 – to allow Blatter to stand unopposed in Wednesday's election.

    Or rather, let's not leave it aside. Let's say that my fondness for the old fellow is nothing to do with the competency or incompetency of his stewardship. So let's take it as this.

    Terrible accusations have been laid at FIFA's door, the media is full of words like "crisis" and "scandal", some of those allegations have been proved, and most people in the world seem to believe that the rest of them are true.

    And what does Blatter do? Sucks his only presidential challenger into the maelstrom, tells journalists politely to get lost, stands as the lone candidate and says, "Right you lot, I'm in charge here, fall into line," while buttering us up with soothing words about all the good things in football.

    Oh, and he refers to himself constantly as "the captain." What a legend.

    While he does this, he dismisses the grand accusations in almost mickey-taking style. "Stop being a bunch of drama queens," he could be saying to the critics.

    He does it with a slightly severe, slightly mocking look on his jowly old face, as if after he's finished telling us off he'll give us a Werther's Original and have a game of three-and-in with us in the back garden.

    Maybe it's just one of those irrational things, like hating Fulham FC (I still don't know why) or not finding Angelina Jolie attractive (sorry, Ange).

    I mean, they liked Ronnie and Reggie Kray in London's East End didn't they? Lovely chaps, they were good to their mum, and as one admirer said, "They only killed villains."

    Well that's how I feel about Seppo, as I shall call him during our kickabout.

    Bad news

    Blatter promised certain reforms at FIFA, such as the World Cups being voted for by the entire congress and not just the 24-man executive committee, a more professional ethics committee voted for by the congress, and better media service ("So that the press can hear all the good news about FIFA, not just the bad news – which is mainly talk and rumours," said Blatter, loving every second of it).

    What is a bit sad from a personal point of view is that, whoever votes for the World Cup, they probably won't vote for England.

    The English FA's proposal to delay the election until a candidate could be found to replace Mohamed bin Hammam received token support and plenty of bad vibes, and England got only two votes in their bid to host World Cup 2018 back in December.

    FIFA is a political animal, and England is not popular. Why? Answers on a postcard. But don't expect a repeat of 1966 at any point remotely close to Blatter's lifetime – unless he somehow finds a way to extend that, too.


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