Opinion: Blatter hits back at his attackers | News | DW | 16.07.2012
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Opinion: Blatter hits back at his attackers

The boxer on the ropes is looking for relief: FIFA President Sepp Blatter's strategy is easy to see, writes DW Sports Editor Joscha Weber. Blatter must go, and the German Football Federation (DFB) must demand it.

For a long time the relationship between FIFA President Blatter and the DFB has been like a friendly match: a kind game without fouls and critical tones, a respectful face-off and without duels. Towards the end of his time, Blatter's reign has, respectively, become a dogged duel. Why? Because FIFA can no longer ignore the obvious.

A picture of DW Sports Editor Joscha Weber

DW Sports Editor Joscha Weber

FIFA is corrupt. Period. That has been clear since 2008, when bribes totalling some 18 million Euros ($22 million) from the marketing firm ISL were publicized in a court case. Thanks to some judicial skill, the names of those who received 4.6 million Euros ($5.62 million) for "reparation payments" remained secret. It is now clear that honorary FIFA President Joao Havelange and his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira were transferred around 11.74 million Euros ($14.3 million) - obviously in return for giving lucrative TV rights to the now bankrupt ISL.

The almighty Blatter wants to have known nothing

The all-powerful FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, who in many cases appears to have exclusive decision-ruling ability, claims to have known nothing of it. It is inconceivable and improbable that the ISL slush money accidentally landed in an official FIFA account in 1997. It is his system, and he plays the leader of the clueless, calling the payments "commissions" instead of bribes. Such blatant wrongdoing has now awakened the long uncritical DFB from its lethargy. DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach is "shocked" at the distance of Blatter, Bayern Munich Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge calls the Swiss FIFA President "like an eel" and German Football League President Reinhard Rauball has called for Blatter to resign.

BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 25: Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA attends the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 opening press conference at Olympic stadium on June 25, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

FIFA President Sepp Blatter is under fire

Only lately, very lately, has the DFB been in opposition. At the FIFA conference in June 2011 the English Football Associated stood alone in opposition to Blatter's re-election. Even then there were outrageous allegations against Blatter and his associates, but the DFB was silent. In the face of the new German resistance, the survival artist Blatter has his counterattack: Germany bought the 2006 World Cup, he indicated.

Allegations of the 2006 World Cup bid are not new

Blatter keeping any evidence of his theory secret until now exposes his testimony as an act of desperate self-defense. Although it is officially contested, the connection between votes for Germany's World Cup and weapon deals with Saudi Arabia, DaimlerChrysler business in South Korea, and Bayern Munich friendly matches in Thailand, Malta, and Tunisia should certainly be reviewed once more. But as a distraction, this won't be enough to take the focus off Blatter.

One thing is clear: the boss of world football only has his own welfare in mind. Blatter, who loves applause, wants to leave the stage as a celebrated hero of football. If that doesn't happen, he may go for a fifth term as president in 2015 - quite contrary to the suggestions he had initiated with a reform group led by lawyer Mark Pieth that would limit him to two terms in office. Blatter would go into extra time. It is on the DFB to prevent that so football can finally make a fresh start.

Author: Joscha Weber/dr
Editor: Matt Zuvela