Watch Sepp Blatter Lash Out Against FIFA’s Critics in 2013

 

In October 2013, at the Oxford Union, FIFA president Sepp Blatter took aim at critics who viewed soccer’s international governing body as “a faceless machine printing money at the expense of the beautiful game.” (He also mocked Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for how much he spends on his hair.) Blatter told the crowd:

There are those who will tell you that football is just a heartless, money-spinning game or just a pointless kick about on the grass. There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist. There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich, where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak. They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat as my terrible sidekicks scour the earth to force countries to host the World Cup and to hand over all of their money. You might laugh. It is strange how fantasy so easily becomes confused with fact. And it feels almost absurd to have to say this. But that is not who we are. Not FIFA. Not me.

(You can watch the whole speech below—It’s very long! He talks very slowly!—but the key bits are in the video up top.) 

These words resonate now, as Blatter sets his sights on a fifth term at the head of the organization amid pressure and criticism following a series of corruption-related charges on senior FIFA officials that have roiled the sport.

But remember that “Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich” Blatter was talking about? Well, Swiss photographer Luca Zanier snapped a photo of FIFA executive committee’s boardroom in Zurich, and it looks villain-esque. John Oliver even likened it to the war room in Dr. Strangelove.

 

Here is Blatter’s full speech, courtesy of the Oxford Union:

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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