With the button on his collar undone and his tie probably lost many hours ago in a depraved end of World Cup celebration, FIFA president Sepp Blatter conducted his post-tournament press conference and expressed satisfaction with how it all went. The protests, construction delays, deaths and serious debate about social issues and government funding for sporting events gave way to a delightful World Cup that entertained the planet and old Sepp couldn't be happier.
From the Guardian:
Blatter was glowing in his praise for Brazil and awarded it a mark of 9.25 out of 10, compared with the 9 he awarded in 2010. “We have improved on four years ago in South Africa,” Blatter said.
“We consulted all our computers and our Facebooks and decided on 9.25 out of 10 because perfection does not exist in football.”
He added: “This was my 10th World Cup and my fifth as president and what makes this so very, very special was the quality of the football and the intensity of the games.”
But it wasn't all decimals and Facebooks from Blatter. He also touched on a few controversies of the tournament, starting with the last one — Lionel Messi winning the Golden Ball award over several other very deserving candidates for recognition as the tournament's best player. From Goal.com:
"I was a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up as the best player in the competition," Blatter told a post-tournament press conference at the Maracana.
"If you compare the beginning of the tournament and why, finally, the Argentina team got into the final, they were decisive and I think it was a decision [based on that]."
On the topic of Uruguay's Luis Suarez biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the group stage, Blatter expressed sympathy for the striker, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool last week despite his four-month ban from all football-related activity.
"Concerning the Suarez matter, I feel for him that such a punishment hurts," he remarked, "but, as the president of Fifa, I have to accept the decision of the committee.
"This player will come back to football on the pitch and, what he has shown on the pitch, we saw his tactical and technical capacity and his smell for goal.
"I hope he will be back. He is now at one of the greatest clubs in the world."
One area where Blatter does think FIFA needs to improve is in fighting discrimination. Several fans were pictured in blackface at matches, a Nazi sympathizer invaded the pitch, and the controversial gay slur chant shouted by Mexico and Brazil fans went unpunished. All of this made the giant "Say No to Racism" banners that FIFA had players hold up before matches seems especially hollow.
"I am not at all happy with the way we fought against racism," Blatter said, adding that he told Vladimir Putin that he wants to make it more of a priority at the 2018 World Cup in Russia (of all places).
But just to prove that he isn't a changed ban bent on progress, equality and transparency, he saved his slimiest response for a female journalist who asked about FIFA corruption.
"Listen, lady," he snapped. "When you speak about corruption, you have to present evidence..."
That's the Sepp Blatter we all know and despise.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sepp Blatter