No more kicking around
It took precisely four days for the beautiful game to regain its aura, appeal and popularity among billions of die-hard fans and administrators from across the globe. There is a sense of déjà vu all around following the possible end of the most infamous chapters in the sport’s otherwise glittering history. At a critical time when the sport was getting murkier because of the machinations of the most powerful football administrator, FIFA resembled
Blatter’s exit marks the end of most dictatorial regime at FIFA
It took precisely four days for the beautiful game to regain its aura, appeal and popularity among billions of die-hard fans and administrators from across the globe. There is a sense of déjà vu all around following the possible end of the most infamous chapters in the sport’s otherwise glittering history. At a critical time when the sport was getting murkier because of the machinations of the most powerful football administrator, FIFA resembled a haven that housed thugs and goons.
As the genuine footballer mourned the death of the sport, the good news has come straight from the horse’s mouth. Bowing down to European mud-slinging and media bashing over charges of collusion with the corrupt officials whom he had handpicked, Sepp Blatter resigned from the post of FIFA President exactly four days into his fifth term.
The football world has shifted its axis and there is this sense of optimism, and a sigh of relief, that it will be the end of the most notoriously dictatorial 17-year-old regime (The Swiss 79-year-old assumed office for the first time in 1998) that sullied the sport like no other.
Former English Football Association chairman Lord Triesman was not wrong in his 2006 criticism that FIFA was a mafia family that patronised bribes, bungs and corruption. People in the know of things wondered how Blatter could survive global battering when many of his close aides were arrested and fingers were pointed at him for the dubious voting process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Even as he is down and out, Blatter, it seems, still nourishes hopes of another shot at the hot seat if one goes by his farewell speech in Zurich. By stressing that the scandal-tainted panel needs "profound reconstruction" and the vote "does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football," the wily old man is apparently playing to the gallery.
He is oblivious of the comments made against him by his own FIFA members. It was only recently that a senior official contended that "Blatter is the world champion of manipulation, a master.’ It holds good if one goes back to his reaction following a media expose about his corruption over the World Cup vote to Qatar.
British journalist Andrew Jennings shocked the world with his book ‘Foul!’ that detailed cash-for-contracts and a creepy cash-for-vote practice that brought ignominy to the sport at the behest of Blatter. Today as the disgraced ‘hero’ walks into the twilight of his controversial career, there are hardly any tears barring some from Asia and Africa including India, who gained from his divide and rule policy. Sepp Blatter who dared take on the world on his own terms is bowing out as a loner.