The August 22nd issue of The FIFA Weekly contains a short profile of
supreme leader FIFA President Sepp Blatter. There are plenty of very serious issues in FIFA that make it a punchline around the world – massive amounts of corruption, ineptitude, a lack of real action to battle racism, Qatar, etc. Oh, and did I mention massive amounts of corruption?
One of the most comical elements of FIFA is its propaganda machine that is worthy of the great fiction writers of our time. FIFA is so removed from reality it defies explanation. After all, this is the same organization that dedicated millions of dollars to a feature film about itself and the virtues of its glorious torchbearer, Blatter.
So it should be no surprise that the official FIFA magazine has produced an article on Blatter that rivals glowing stories re-writing the lives of third-world dictators. The only surprise about this article is that it doesn’t detail how Blatter single-handedly killed three mountain lions with his bare hands while climbing the Matterhorn and rescuing children out of an orphanage.
The article begins by waxing poetically about Blatter’s home state in Switzerland, Valais, and all the wonderful things it has produced over the years including “the most beautiful girls in the country.” I wish I was making this up. The peak of this crescendoing tribute is this sentence:
The only thing Valais has still to produce is a Pope, unless you describe Blatter as a kind of football Pope.
Unbelievably, comparing Sepp Blatter to the Pope is just the beginning of this legendary piece of propaganda.
The next section is entitled “Quick Witted Youth” and devotes a paragraph’s to Blatter’s “teenage cunning” as a growing soccer player. FIFA then goes on to bloviate about Blatter’s exploits in bringing the world together after he “ascended the FIFA throne.” Because nothing does more to dispel notions of corruption like comparing your organization to a monarchy.
Nobody outside the official FIFA Magazine talks like this in 2014.
Blatter went on to make the most of his opportunities, both on and off the pitch, ascending to the FIFA throne on 8 June 1998. From that seat of power in the world game, Blatter has endeavoured to inject new impulse into the sport. The ball may still be round but there have been numerous changes since the era of Sepp Herberger. Blatter travels a great deal more, visiting Samoa, the Cook Islands, Nepal, Dijibouti, Montserrat and Dominica. The laws of the game are obeyed by everyone, be they Zulus, Shiites, Muslims, Jews, Kurds, Creoles or any other race – and they are also, reluctantly, followed by Blatter’s numerous detractors. Football is a simple game that only becomes complicated once you attempt to explain the active and passive offside rules to your wife.
Let’s start with that last sentence first, because it made some headlines on its own over the weekend. Again, just so we’re clear about this, here is what the OFFICIAL FIFA MAGAZINE has to say about women and their understanding of soccer.
Football is a simple game that only becomes complicated once you attempt to explain the active and passive offside rules to your wife.
Only FIFA. Only FIFA could end a paragraph dedicated to its inclusivity, tolerance, and generosity with a sentence highlighting this kind of neanderthalic insensitivity. Couple this sentiment with the ongoing controversy surrounding next year’s Women’s World Cup and the game’s top female players protesting playing games on turf, and there’s a reality here that FIFA discriminates against women. After all, if women can’t understand offside, do they really deserve to play on grass fields like the men? THEY SHOULD BE IN THE KITCHEN ANYWAYS MAKING SWISS CHOCOLATE DELIGHTS, AMIRITE SEPP!
After praising the exploits of his athletic career (Blatter was a local sprint champion) and his “furious pace of academic studies” (a.k.a. graduating high school), the FIFA czar worked odd jobs in his native Switzerland. It was there where the seeds would be sewn for one of the world’s great visionaries.
Before departing his beloved home canton for good, Blatter worked as Head of Public Relations of the Valaisan Tourist Board, as Spokesman for the Swiss Athletics Association and as General Secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation. Blatter’s father refused to allow him to play ice hockey, claiming the game was too rough and Blatter later took that advice on board when President of FIFA: instead of using the coarse ice hockey term of ’sudden death’ to describe the deciding goal in extra time, Blatter opted for the more humane ’Golden Goal’.
Sepp Blatter: Great Humanitarian or World’s Greatest Humanitarian? Thank God he no longer associates himself with those gruesome thugs in hockey. Sudden Death? Animals.
Moving on, your organization is under fire for massive amounts of corruption. There are calls all around the world to restage a vote for the 2022 World Cup. Workers are dying in the deserts of Qatar building million dollar stadiums that are percieved to have been bought with oil money. You’re FIFA, what do you do to calm the raging tides in a profile of Supreme Commander Sepp Blatter.
A) Promote your charitable endeavors?
B) Talk about how you’ve poured in resources to grow the game around the world?
C) Stay far away from any discussion of profit?
D) Brag about how much is in your Swiss bank account?
D! D! D! D! D! D! D! D! D!
Under the leadership of Brazil’s Joao Havelange and his successor Blatter, FIFA has grown to become the world’s largest sports association, with 1.289 billion Swiss Francs in reserves and 65 million net income in the last accounting period. Added to that is the windfall from the 2014 World Cup: 1.9 billion Swiss Francs.
If only the FIFA magazine writer had some of Blatter’s teenage cunning.
As the article ends, it pays one last tribute to this half-man, half-god. It takes this profile of the FIFA President from the ridiculous to the absurd. If it didn’t come from an official FIFA publication, you’d think it would be a satirical script from John Oliver making fun of how FIFA would pay tribute to its leader…
The smart Valais native, a colonel in the Swiss army, multilingual, eloquent, quick-witted, savvy, jovial and by no means introverted, accomplished many feats that seemed impossible. He even went to battle against standing in football stadiums. Although Blatter possesses a remarkable natural stamina on his feet, in a similar way to the immovable Matterhorn, he was in favour of abolishing standing room in football for safety reasons. Thanks to the World Cup and television deals, the football industry earns millions across the globe. Blatter was a living example of globalisation before it became an economic catchphrase. Sometimes numbers can lie though: according to statisticians a man with his head in a sauna and his feet in a fridge would have an average body temperature.
In 1975, Blatter’s first year at FIFA, the organisation had 144 member associations. In 2014, 39 years into his stay, there are 209; more than are included in the United Na- tions, a fact Blatter happily recounts in German, French, English, Spanish, Italian and in Valaisan dialect.
In closing, Sepp Blatter is basically the second coming of Christ, if you just replace all that stuff about giving to the poor with making millions of dollars for profit. And if you replace the carpenter from Nazareth with an immovable mountain of a man who is a real hit with the ladies.
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