Sepp Blatter sees your Champagnes, your Al-Husseins and your Ginolas. And he laughs.
Obviously, David Ginola – fair enough. His candidacy for FIFA president is a joke. But the lack of credible opposition to Blatter for May’s FIFA election isn’t funny, and not even the favorite is smiling. Or so he says.
See, 78-year-old Sepp isn’t going back on his word and standing for his fifth term as FIFA president for him. He’s doing it for us. Because we need him. No one else would be any good. On a planet with a population of seven billion, right now only one person is truly capable of running the world’s most popular sport. That’s just a fact.
“I have been asked by the national associations to be our candidate again because nobody that is strong was in. So I go there,” he told CNN World Sport.
Blatter then gazed at photographs of UEFA president Michel Platini and some English FA bigwigs and did an impression of a chicken.
“All those who want to get rid of me should come. All this opposition is coming now, it’s unfortunate to say – but it’s true – it’s coming from Nyon, from UEFA. They don’t have the courage to come in. So let me go [on] – be respectful,” he clucked.
“Football is a team sport. Let’s go together with the team. I invite the confederation of [UEFA] and especially the leaders of UEFA that are so bitterly attacking me: Join! Join! Football is a unity.”
Easy for Blatter to say, of course, knowing full well that he’s going to beat his opponents, having spent years building up a loyal power base. If he can survive all the scandals to have hit the organization during his tenure, it’s pretty clear he can survive a couple of long-shots and an ex-winger being put up for election as part of a bookmaker’s publicity stunt.
But were there a genuine threat to Blatter, would he be so open to a challenge, so quick to talk about unity and “the team”?
Or might he view it as an act of disloyalty? A selfish betrayal? Would the scene at FIFA HQ in Zurich in fact look a little something like this?