A path to retaining FIFA’s presidency is starting to materialize for Sepp Blatter

Like some kind of suited Swiss bureaucratic End of Level Boss, just when you think Sepp Blatter’s been killed off, he rises again to shoot you with his laser.

Thus reports emerged this weekend that Blatter might stand for re-election, less than two weeks after he said he was quitting … an announcement that came three days after he won re-election.

The initial worldwide glee at Blatter’s exit announcement overlooked his history of being economical with the truth. Promise in 2011 that his fourth term would be his last, anyone?

FIFA being FIFA, it’s not hard to imagine a succession of “no, Sepp, stay! We love you buddy” messages from his fans in Africa and Asia, who keep voting him in as president. With the next election in December, Sepp has time for a bit of reform here, a bit of reform there, voila! All better.

If law enforcement hasn’t got the goods on Blatter by December, perhaps they never will. And with his good name secure, then it’s time for world soccer to sit on Uncle Sepp’s lap and tell him what they’d like for Christmas.

Already, despite a strong chorus of voices demanding he go now, Blatter looks to have bought himself six months. So there’s no telling what the scene might look like by the end of the year. And right now, is there anyone who looks like a solid alternative to Blatter to take over?

True, anyone or anything — a large hunk of Emmenthal perhaps — would be preferable as the leader of world soccer’s governing body. But will a viable candidate emerge by the end of the year? Someone who’s not tainted by a long association with the Blatter regime? And if not, will that give Blatter an excuse to say that he’s changed his mind and must stay, for the good of the game?

FIFA, meanwhile, is downplaying the report that first emerged in a Swiss newspaper. But the point is, no one really knows for sure what will happen. Because to feel confident that Blatter will leave as he said he would, we have to take him at his word.

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