The resignation of Sepp Blatter, then president of FIFA, was mixed with plenty of legal issues back in 2015. Sepp Blatter was the longest serving president of FIFA, having completed 4 consecutive terms totalling 17 years before his resignation.
Back in 2015, Blatter was up for re-election against Prince Ali bin Hussein at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich. Blatter won that election by virtue of his opponent pulling out of the race after the first round of voting gave neither party a two-thirds majority, prompting the need for a second round.
However, this victory was short-lived as Blatter would announce his resignation from the post of President just 4 days later. This did not come as surprising to most who had been following the situation at FIFA closely over that period of time.
Just 2 days prior to the elections on May 27 2015, authorities made the arrest of FIFA officials on the suspicion of criminal mismanagement and money laundering. This sequence of events have led to a total of 41 arrests with 14 being convicted.
With all that FIFA had to endure, it is important to note that Blatter was never arrested nor was he ever charged with any criminal activity. On numerous occasions such as in 2012 and 2013, there were allegations of financial mismanagement, misconduct and ethical breaches but he was always cleared of any wrongdoing.
This never stopped the public from eyeing Blatter as responsible however. Blatter’s salary at FIFA was never disclosed but he was believed to have been earning tens of millions of dollars annually and since his fall, he has made it clear that he has no need for any more financial input from FIFA as he is quite comfortable. He wants what he is owed though, his watch collection being the main one. Out of the things that he believes he is owed is a $12 million bonus that he say he was secretly promised but has chosen to waive his right to so long as he gets his personal collection of luxury timepieces back that were at his office at the time he was ousted.
With all the turmoil surrounding Blatter’s reign towards the end, it is extremely difficult to think that he had nothing to do with any of the criminal activity that was going on at FIFA. British comedian Lee Nelson became famous for showing exactly what the public thought of Blatter after he showered the man with fake currency notes after he snuck into a press conference in Zurich in July 2015.
These events transpired after he appeared to renege on his resignation when stating that he had yet to resign. This was all moot though as on 25 September, Swiss investigators announced that he was being investigated for an illegal payment of 2 million Swiss Francs to Michel Platini and was forced by sponsors to resign his post permanently.
Both Blatter and Platini refute any wrongdoing behind this payment, stating that it was for services rendered between 1998 and 2002 but according to a verbal agreement made by the 2, no payment for those services was to be made due to the financial state of FIFA at the time (even though FIFA made over 70 million during that 4 year period).
By the time it came to December, everyone was certain that there was no way Sepp Blatter would ever be involved in FIFA in any way or another anymore. This was confirmed when FIFA’s ethics committee banned him and Platini from the sport for a period of 8 years which was subsequently reduced to 6 years on appeal. At the age of 84 currently, it does seem very unlikely that he will be wading back into the sport when his ban ends in 2022.