Football: 10 Sepp Blatter 'lightbulb' moments proving why Fifa is better off without him

Fifa president Sepp Blatter gesturing after he was re-elected for a fifth term at the 65th Fifa Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, on May 29, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Fifa president Sepp Blatter gesturing after he was re-elected for a fifth term at the 65th Fifa Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, on May 29, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Fifa president Sepp Blatter's shock resignation just four days after being re-elected to a fifth term has been greeted with joy, relief and copious amounts of glee.

The timing of his announcement is also an embarrassing own goal for both the 79-year-old and Fifa.

The controversial figure, born in Visp, Switzerland, has been married three times and has one daughter. He graduated from the Faculty of Law at Lausanne University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Economics degree.

Blatter joined Fifa since 1975, first as a technical director, then as general secretary from 1981. He became Fifa president in 1998, and he was in that role for 17 years.

The man has survived a series of scandals and corruption allegations, including the accusation that bribery was involved in his 1998 presidential election victory. Blatter had denied the allegations.

Here are some memorable soundbites - ranging from the serious to the ludicrous - from football's top man that suggest why his imminent departure has been long overdue.

1. On his longevity at the helm of Fifa

"I am a mountain goat that keeps going and going and going, I cannot be stopped, I just keep going." 

-- Blatter in an interview with Swiss newspaper NZZ, days before winning his fifth term on May 29

2. His profound take on match-fixing

"I could understand it if it had happened in Africa, but not in Italy." 

-- In the aftermath of the match-fixing scandal that rocked Italy's top football league Serie A in 2006

3. Flip-flopping on the introduction of goal-line technology

"Please do not insist on the technology... spectators will say no, we are not coming to the game." 

-- A longstanding opponent of video technology, Blatter U-turned on his stubborn decision in 2010 and it was subsequently used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

4. How to make women's football more popular

"Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts."

-- A suggestion he put forth in 2004 for female players to wear skimpier kits was roundly slammed

5. On how shaking hands cures racism

"There is no racism (on the field]), but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct. The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands." 

-- He later backtracked on this apparently flippant remark, insisting that he was "committed" to the fight against racism in the sport

6. Blatter the sexist?

"Say something, ladies! You are always speaking at home, now you can speak here." 

-- While addressing the Fifa Congress in May 2013, when Lydia Nsekera became the first woman to be appointed to the organisation's executive committee

7. No more draws during matches

"Every game should have a winner. When you play cards or any other game, there's always a winner and a loser. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football."

-- Imagine what football would have been like if Blatter's 2004 suggestion had come to pass

8. Cheating on your wife is fine in some parts of the world

"Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries. If this had happened in, let's say, Latin countries then I think he would have been applauded." 

-- Blatter defends defender John Terry in February 2010 amid allegations that the then-England captain was having an extra-marital affair

9. Channelling his inner Coppola

"Woman's football is definitely my baby. I consider myself a little bit, as the godfather of women's football in Fifa." 

-- During a BBC interview last month as he trumpeted his contributions to the women's game

10. Advising gay fans

"I'd say they should refrain from any sexual activities." 

-- Blatter's advice to gay fans travelling to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal

And then there's this:

mklee@sph.com.sg