Sepp Blatter is a man of many faces, able to shrewdly weasel his way in and out of any arguments by putting on whatever political stance that will ingratiate himself to the ears of those who can further his position of power. But the man is also famously cunning, especially when it comes to throwing those he deems as competition to his seat in the sport’s Mt. Olympus under the bus. So it really came as a surprise – shock for some – that the man considered as the most influential figure in football finally admitted that awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup was a mistake, smacking that truth in the face of all those who championed for the Middle Eastern nation, including UEFA president Michel Platini.
It’s been an open secret to everybody remotely ingratiated to the sport that Platini was the one of the driving forces in bringing the 2022 World Cup. With his admission, Blatter effectively placed all the burden that has come with the troubles Qatar has faced in preparing to host the World Cup on his rival’s shoulders, ensuring not only that his rivals come out of it stinking like holy hell while he, in turn, distances himself from all that stench. it doesn’t even matter that in the end, he’s the one that oversees the very organization that green-lighted Qatar’s 2022 bid. All he cares about is making sure that he tells everyone that he wasn’t on board with the idea in the first place – reports say he voted for the US – but had to agree to it out of a sense of duty to an executive committee that has put him in this position of power in the first place.
With more and more concerns coming out of World Cup preparations in Qatar – the number of deaths related to construction of all those stadiums are mind-numbing – Blatter had his opportunity to decry the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar. It was a cunning and calculated move brought about by a desire to position himself in a positive light relative to his opponents. In short, it was vintage Sepp Blatter.
Predictably, FIFA tried to snuff out those comments in its latest attempt at damage control while also disagreeing to Blatter’s other notion that Qatar only won the bid because of wheelings and dealings with French and German companies heavily invested in the Middle Eastern country.
None of that, though, will probably faze the irrepressible Sepp Blatter. After all, this is a man who dives into whatever controversy he finds himself in with arms wide-open, as if to tell the world that the phrase sticks and stones breaking bones applies to everybody except Sepp Blatter.
The man has been president of FIFA since 1998, an incredible run that has extended four terms. In that time, Blatter has had to deal with one controversy after another, the latest one more perplexing than the ones before. And yet, here he is, still the president of FIFA. Ongoing allegations of corruption deep within the underbelly of the organization hasn’t toppled him. Even some of his most outlandish comments on issues not related to football may have gotten him in trouble, but not to the extent where his tenure as FIFA president was in serious jeopardy.
Through all of his misgivings, Sepp Blatter still manages to dodge a lot of them and he does it by manipulating negative public sentiment and steering them to those who considers as rivals to his throne.
If this were the world of Game of Thrones, Sepp Blatter would be Petyr Baelish, a man who positions himself in the best possible political spot, even if it means throwing one or two folks under the bus, or in the fictional character’s case, through the Vale’s Moon Door.
The 2022 World Cup is getting all sorts of bad press and publicity and the man in charge of the organization that signed off on the country hosting it has distanced himself from that decision. It’s a move straight out of Sepp Blatter’s playbook, or as its more commonly known, “The Sepp Blatter Guide to Politics”.