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Why Sepp Blatter is such a hated figure - Justifying the anger directed at FIFA

Why is Sepp Blatter such a hated figure in the world of Football?

FEATURED WRITER
Feature 28 May 2015, 14:47 IST
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FIFA under Sepp Blatter make huge amounts of money, astonishing for a non-profit organisation

FIFA is soon turning into a word people would associate with the association who are so corrupt that they paid me to not use their name in the article, and I really couldn’t resist an offer that including an ashirwaad (blessing) from Uncle Srini.

To get to the point, the recent outbreak of hate towards FIFA is justified in case you are wondering what exactly they have done to attract hatred from fans to the point where they just want them off the board and in handcuffs. It’s not just about the money. It’s about human rights. 

As I woke up this morning and was off to work, I opened my desk to read about FIFA holding a press conference with Mr Walter De Gregorio who is FIFA’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs tackling hard-hitting questions of journalists from all over the world, mostly English. yo no hablo español, amigo?

This was after the arrest of up to 14 FIFA officials on charges of bribery and corruption in an investigation that was exclusively carried out by the United States Department of Justice with President Sepp Blatter escaping charges. Yet.

I mean you can hate the Yanks as much as you want, but they surely do get the job done. And by pulling it off with their own hands, they have won the hearts of everyone who has ever hated the word soccer which is just too American.

But, why would I care about this at all? Why should I hate FIFA? Why would I call them evil? Well, here’s why. If I was asked to define Sepp Blatter’s corruption career in a single moment, it would be this. 

On 2 December 2010, FIFA had announced that the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be given to Qatar, a country where heat can go up to 50°C in the summer and there isn’t much footballing tradition to speak of.

However, FIFA being a not-so criminal organisation had promised that the stadiums that will be hosting the matches will be employing that a cooling technology that will be successful in bringing down temperatures within the stadium by up to 20°C.


Sure, that sounds great, but this comes at what cost?

This is a very broad topic that cannot be simply covered in an article. You can have a three-hour full-length movie about the whole mess-up by Blatter who continues to live in denial of the wrongs that he has done.

His mistakes have come with a hefty price tag. Let’s just talk about the Qatar FIFA World Cup.

Qatar World Cup
Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (left) and his wife Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned (C) receive the World Cup trophy from Blatter on December 2, 2010 at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich 

Qatar may well be one of the world's richest countries going by per capita income, but it’s a country without heart. There are exceptions, but the fact that the bricks of infrastructure are being built over the dead bodies of 4000 workers is just too appalling for me to handle. I’m no Sepp Blatter. That guy is strong. He is morbid. 

The presence of the kafala slavery system should be reason enough to not gift that country a World Cup. But, Blatter had to go for the big prize. 17 years is a long time, and a guy can get bored. He had to go for Qatar. South Africa worked. This will too.

Well. I wish it did.

His rise to the top is as crooked as you could imagine. His predecessor, João Havelange, was beaten by Blatter in the 1998 FIFA Presidential Elections, and after being felt cheated by Blatter, Havelange has since then agreed to the Swede being capable of buying votes for himself in the elections by a third party. It’s always a third party, and that is the reason behind Blatter escaping the FBI probe. Yet.

And, that was it. Since 1998, the ambitious man that is Sepp Blatter has used football as his own fat purple cow, and milking as much money and power as he can from that game is our own.

Several whistleblowers have come forward and several FIFA officials have agreed that FIFA is corrupted from the core. but they all have been dodged by the Blatter. Yet.

Even though FIFA technically doesn’t control football, it has been responsible for changing how football has become, and in the process has turned into a multi-billion company.

Most of their money, or as they call it sponsorship, comes from their television rights, with them recording a $742 million revenue income last year from TV rights alone. Wonder why sports channels are expensive? Wonder why it’s hard to stream a damn game these days? It’s all FIFA.

Looking into their total revenue, FIFA had made a net profit of $72 million in the year of 2013 while sitting on a cash reserve of over $1.4 billion. It was reported that over $261 million had been handed to members of the teams participating in the last World Cup. That’s a lot of money handed out by an organisation that claims to be a non-profit establishment.

Did you know Blatter was that crazy once that he had the intention to contend for the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis that his Football for Hope programme could transform the world, where he made sure that the matches were played without referees. Why? Because we are civil people. We don’t need officials as we can come to a mutual understanding among ourselves. Yes. Tell that to the several labourers from Nepal who were not allowed to return back to their nation after the series of earthquakes.

Nepalese migrant
Heading towards death? Nepalese migrant workers queue to receive official documents in order to leave Nepal from the Labour department
 

The kafala system that exists in Qatar allows the employers to hold the visa status of these labourers, and following the recent high-scale series of earthquakes that had left several of their countrymen dead, these labourers were not permitted to leave the country because of FIFA’s pressure on Qatar to speed up their construction projects. 

In a report, the Guardian said that there are about 1.5 million migrant labourers in Qatar, with about 400,000 Nepalaese. Following the recent earthquakes, this is what Tek Bahadur Gurung, Nepal’s labour minister, was quoted as saying, “

“After the earthquake of 25 April, we requested all companies in Qatar to give their Nepalese workers special leave and pay for their air fare home. While workers in some sectors of the economy have been given this, those on World Cup construction sites are not being allowed to leave because of the pressure to complete projects on time. They have lost relatives and their homes and are enduring very difficult conditions in Qatar. This is adding to their suffering.”

And that’s just Qatar. The problems with Russia aren’t any less.

In the 2011 Presidential campaign, Blatter was the sole contender for the position after his only rival, Qatari Mohammed bin Hammam, withdrew with reports suggesting pressure from Qatari delegates who were convinced by Blatter that the World Cup would be brought to the country in 2022. Despite the negative attention, Blatter won by a massive margin of 186 votes out of the 203 in favour of retaining him as FIFA’s President. 

If you are still not convinced, perhaps this video could clear up things for you.

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