Skip to main content

The world according to Sepp: FIFA president's own goals and gaffes

updated 11:56 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
FIFA president Sepp Blatter's 2011 remarks on racism in football -- that on-pitch abuse can be solved with a handshake -- were just one of a series of controversial quotes to be attributed to the head of world soccer. FIFA president Sepp Blatter's 2011 remarks on racism in football -- that on-pitch abuse can be solved with a handshake -- were just one of a series of controversial quotes to be attributed to the head of world soccer.
HIDE CAPTION
A controversial leader
Tighter shorts for women?
Applauding infidelity
Football slavery?
Goal-line technology U-turn
Excusez-moi?
"Refrain from sexual activity"
Winter World Cup?
Rotten eggs?
Best of enemies?
Charges dropped
We need to talk about Kevin
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA has cleared Russia and Qatar over allegations of wrongdoing
  • Lead investigator Michael Garcia to appeal against 42-page summary
  • FIFA president Sepp Blatter has history of gaffes
  • World football's governing body under fire once again

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Another day, another FIFA farce.

Football's world governing body has already embarrassed itself on a number of occasions with its president, Sepp Blatter, also getting in on the act.

Thursday's debate between lead investigator Michael Garcia and FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert over allegations of corruption during the FIFA World Cup bidding process is just the latest episode in a whole catalog of ignominy.

Blatter, who has been in charge of FIFA since 1998, is hoping to stand for a fifth term as president next year.

The 78-year-old has presided over some of the organization's most troubled times. Here are a few reminders.

Racism solved with a handshake

Champagne: Football has lost credibility
FARE: 'Erratic' Sepp Blatter should quit

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.

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?"

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."

Blatter later apologized.

"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."

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."

Affairs are OK?

In 2010, Blatter turned agony uncle to England's Wayne Bridge following revelations that his Chelsea teammate, John Terry, had been having an affair with his girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.

Sexwale: Blatter's comments problematic
Campbell: Blatter comments out of touch

The English Football Association (FA) stripped Terry of the England captaincy and Bridge's relationship with the French model fell apart in front of the watching world.

Fortunately, Bridge had Blatter to turn to for some advice.

"Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries," he said.

"If this had happened in let's say Latin countries then I think he (Terry) would have been applauded."

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.

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.

Read more: FIFA embroiled in civil war

Read more: FBI moves ahead with FIFA corruption probe

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT