Joseph ‘Zepp’ Blatter is of the leading football functionaries of the recent decades. He served as a secretary of FIFA since 1981 until he was elected as a President of the organization in 1998 (Web). Mr. Blatter has been 4 times re-elected for this position. However, he willingly announced the resignation from the post in June 2015 due to the arisen scandals concerning corruption in FIFA (Web). Mr. Blatter pleasantly agreed to answer several questions regarding the issue.
Joseph Blatter (J.B.): Thank you for your question. Indeed, when I became the President of FIFA, I was aiming at changing certain things. First, I wanted to spear football as far as possible in the world, from the poorest villages of Chile to the biggest districts of New York. It is the game which makes people move, change and lead those changes. It is not just about hitting the ball. It is about making better future for our world. Secondly, I wanted the nations to feel equal with the help of football: no discrimination, no prevalence of one over another just because they are richer. Equity and equality are the principles I followed.
So how exactly these principles and goals fit into the situation around corruption in FIFA, Championships in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022), and unfair results of some matches?
Those accusations are fabricated. I responsibly submit that there has been no single bribe given or taken in FIFA which I was informed of and which I did not react to. There are many people in different states and even in FIFA who wanted me not to win the elections in 2015. Unfortunately, money and bad ambitions are still ruling this world.
So you deny the results of the FBI investigations?
Of course! They are completely made up and aimed at making my reelections impossible. Even in the US, some people from the highest circles of government cannot cope with my position that whatever economy you have however powerful you are the only thing that matters in football is the spirit and passion of game.
Why then did you announce the resignation?
I did not want this to turn into a ‘witch hunt’. The peace and stability in football would be ruined, if I stayed. I want only growth of this game in the world. FIFA has to develop football and not to sink in the scandals.
Who do you think will become the next President of FIFA?
I do not want to speculate on this matter. All I know is that it should be the person who lives football even more then I did. Of course, if it is possible.
President’s Biography. FIFA. Web. June 17 2015.
FIFA President to lay down his mandate at extraordinary elective Congress. FIFA. 2015. Web. June 17 2015