Football

Sepp Blatter: A controversial leader

Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT) June 2, 2015
Share
Blatter racismBlatter racism
1 of 11
FIFA president Sepp Blatter's 2011 remarks on racism in football -- that on-pitch abuse can be solved with a handshake -- were just one of a series of controversial quotes to be attributed to the head of world soccer. Getty Images
In 2004, Blatter -- seen here with Brazil star Marta -- angered female footballers with his suggestion for how the women's game could be made more appealing. "They could, for example, have tighter shorts," said the Swiss. "Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball." Getty Images
In 2008 Blatter was ridiculed after defending the desire of Manchester United's highly-paid star Cristiano Ronaldo to join Real Madrid. He said: "I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere." In 2013 he had to apologize to Ronaldo after a bizarre impersonation of the Madrid star. Getty Images
Blatter performed a U-turn on the use of goal-line technology and apologized to the English Football Association after an incorrect decision during the 2010 World Cup. Despite replays showing a shot from England's Frank Lampard had clearly crossed the line in the last-16 clash with Germany, the goal was not awarded. Getty Images
Blatter had earlier refused to take action when Thierry Henry's blatant handball denied the Republic of Ireland a place at the 2010 World Cup finals. Even the France striker admitted the fairest solution was to replay the playoff match. AFP/Getty Images
In December 2010, Blatter was heavily criticized for suggesting gay football fans should "refrain from sexual activity" if they wished to attend the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. Blatter later apologized and said it had not been his intention to offend or discriminate. Getty Images
Blatter clashed with fellow members of FIFA's executive committee when he suggested the 2022 FIFA World Cup could be played in January to avoid high temperatures in Qatar. He said the move would "protect the players and also the spectators." Qatar flatly rejected Blatter's suggestion at the time, but FIFA is now reviewing whether to adopt it. Getty Images
In December 2010 Blatter insisted that FIFA was "not corrupt ... there are no rotten eggs" despite two of his executive committee members -- Amos Adamu, pictured, and Reynald Temarii -- being suspended for accepting bribes in the lead-up to the vote for awarding hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. He called England "bad losers" after losing out to Russia. AFP/Getty Images
Blatter stood unopposed for re-election in July after his former ally Mohamed bin Hammam quit the race days before the ballot after being accused of offering cash for votes. The Qatari, a top FIFA official, has been banned from football. AFP/Getty Images
Blatter faced a criminal investigation after winning the 2002 FIFA presidential election, being accused of financial mismanagement by 11 former members of the ruling body's executive committee, including his 1998 election rival Lennart Johansson, right. However, prosecutors dropped the case due to a lack of evidence. Getty Images
In January 2013, AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led his team off the pitch after being subjected to racist chanting. His actions were hailed across the world. But Blatter was more cautious about the issue, refusing to support the move. "I don't think you can run away, because eventually you can run away if you lose a match," he said in an interview with a newspaper in the UAE. "This issue is a very touchy subject, but I repeat there is zero tolerance of racism in the stadium; we have to go against that." Others, like AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi, have disagreed with him. "I am of the opposite view (to Blatter)," said Berlusconi. "I thanked and congratulated my players for their decision to leave the field." AFP/Getty Images