All things must end – even the presidency of the seemingly immovable Sepp Blatter.
Having been voted in for a fifth term as the head of world football’s governing body only last Friday, the 79-year-old suddenly announced Tuesday he will leave his post.
Recent days have been marked by arrests and investigations tied to alleged corruption, which led to calls for the dismissal of the FIFA’s longtime leader.
It’s not the first time Blatter, who has been in charge of FIFA since 1998, has endured difficult times since taking the top job 17 years ago.
While FIFA has endured its fair share of bad headlines, Blatter has also faced personal criticism.
1. Racism solved with a handshake
Yes, you read that right. In June 2011, during an exclusive interview with CNN, Sepp Blatter said that any racism on the field of play could be solved with a handshake.
When asked if racism on the pitch was a problem, the FIFA president said: ” “I would deny it. There is no racism.
“There is maybe one of the players towards another – he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one.
“But the one who is affected by that, he should say: ‘This is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands.’ And this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.”
Blatter later said that his remarks had been misunderstood and released a statement clarifying his position.
2. Let women wear ‘tighter shorts’
Blatter caused a stir in January 2004 when he suggested female footballers should wear “more feminine clothes.”
“Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball,” he said at the time.
“They could, for example, have tighter shorts.”
Blatter added: “Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men – such as playing with a lighter ball.
“That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?”
3. No sex in Qatar
When Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup, Blatter was asked about what gay football fans should do given that homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state.
Speaking in December 2010, Blatter joked: “I’d say they (gay fans) should refrain from any sexual activities.”
“It was not my intention and never will be my intention to go into any discrimination,” Blatter said.
“If somebody feels hurt, then I regret and present apologies.”
4. She’s a looker
Blatter was at it again in May 2013 at the 63rd FIFA congress held in Mauritius where the executive committee elected three women.
With the world waiting to hail FIFA’s progress, the president took center stage.
He declared: “We now have three ladies on the board. Say something, ladies! You are always speaking at home, say something now!”
Oh and before that, he had told everyone that one of the candidates, Australia’s Moya Dodd was “good and good-looking.”
5. Big screen Blatter
Nothing massages the ego more than having your own film – hence the production of “United Passions,” a movie telling the story of how FIFA came into existence.
FIFA coughed up a reported $8 million to help fund the film starring Tim Roth as Blatter, French actor Gerard Depardieu as World Cup creator Jules Rimet and Sam Neill as Joao Havelange, the disgraced former FIFA president.
The flick, which reportedly cost €27 million to make, failed to attract many viewers to its premiere in Switzerland earlier this year – a reported 120 people bought tickets.
6. Sepp the stand-up comedian
In October 2013, Blatter caused much mirth during a question and answer session at Oxford University.
The Swiss was asked which player he preferred out of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
One might have expected a straight answer – but not this time.
After saying that Ronaldo was like a “commander on the field of play,” Blatter got up from his chair and began to do a comic walk across the stage in a bizarre interpretation of the Real Madrid star’s movement.
It went down like a lead balloon – especially with the Portuguese star who posted a sarcastic response on his Facebook page.
The two made peace in the end with Blatter tweeting an apology.