In the light of Blatter's recent remarks trying to rationalise Ronaldo's ridiculous-money move to Real Madrid, I thought it might be worth taking a quick tour through his career to see what other craziness I could find. And the answer was: quite a lot...
1998 and 2002: Allegations abound that Blatter is bribing officials to vote for him in the FIFA presidential elections.
2002: FIFA's secretary-general Michael Zen-Ruffinendrew up a dossier outlining allegations of financial mismanagement within the organisation. The dossier alleged that the collapse of FIFA's marketing partner ISL had led to losses of up to $100M under Blatter's management. No action was taken by the Swiss authorities, and an internal investigation within FIFA was halted by Blatter, seen by many as proof of his guilt. Zen-Ruffinen was later removed from office by Blatter, and the ISL Director (a good friend of Blatter's) was convicted of embezzlement.
2004: Blatter's 'Silver Goal' rule was used for the first time in International competition, helping Greece to beat Cech and the Czech Republic in the European Championships semi-final. The rule has subsequently been dropped. Other great Blatter rule-changes include the mandate that national associations must enforce player suspensions even if video evidence shows the referee made a bad call (the FA happily ignore that one), and that players who are over-zealous in their goal celebrations should be booked.
Later on in 2004, Blatter commented that women footballers might want to think about wearing tighter shorts to create a female aesthetic. He's also expressed his surprise that there aren't more openly gay footballers, pointing to the example of women's football: "homosexuality is popular there".
2007: Blatter decrees that football matches shouldn't be played above 2,500m. All very well unless you're Bolivia, whose national stadium was rendered useless. As with many of Blatter's edicts, this decision has since been reversed.
2008/2009: Blatter criticises Man Utd for not allowing Ronaldo to move in 2008, claiming that this makes Ronaldo a 'slave'. Obviously the facts that (a) he had willingly signed a contract, and (b) was being paid millions of dollars had passed Blatter by. This year he sought to legitimise Madrid's £80M purchase by comparing Ronaldo to Picasso, and the size of the bid by saying it merely reflected the health of the football transfer market. Why no criticism of all the money being spent? Oh that's right, he's a Real Madrid fan.
Blatter has also taken the opportunity to have a pop at the English dominance of the Champions League. Confused? You should be. English clubs have only won the Champions League three times since its re-launch in 1992, the same as the Italians and fewer than the Spanish. Whilst waffling on about excessive money in English football, Blatter has overseen the spend of £120M on FIFA headquarters (making Wembley look like a bargain), allowed FIFA officials a daily expense rate of €500 (no receipts required), and spent only £5Mbuilding football centres in Africa. Way to go, Sepp.
Think I've missed anything? Or that I've given Blatter too much stick, and that he's actually good for the game? Post a comment.