Even in isolation, Sepp Blatter is a much sought-after man. The undisputed leader of FIFA, until it all came crashing down, has reportedly been approached by four of the five presidential candidates to garner support, perhaps even blessing.
Was the fifth candidate Prince Ali of Jordan, by the way, beaten by Blatter in the May 2015 election? The Prince, once a subject of Blatter, has been very vocal about his opposition to him, but only once the Swiss was caught in corruption cases that rendered him almost powerless to hit back. It was safe to rise in dissent. But that’s a different story.
Blatter, quite upset these days, went on to say that he will not support anyone publicly. Quite sincerely, at least that’s how he sounded in an interview to French radio station RMC, he added that he will not get involved in the February 26 ballot.
It became further more interesting when Blatter revealed that many of the 209 members approached him, asking how they should vote!
The fact that he was asked for guidance by FIFA aspirants shows the man may be down, but not out. 17 years at the top of his game has given him an insight like none other. He knows how to win elections. His analytical skills, like that of a mathematician, have been honed over the years to perfection and the candidates might have wanted to get some tips from the sharp old man.
The legendary Nigerian football player, Segun Odegbami, had described Sepp Blatter as the most powerful president in the world ever, untouchable during his stay at the top of the world football governing body. He was obsessively attached to FIFA and its politics and there is no one better than Blatter in ensuring electoral wins.
Blatter’s strength is further reflected in the fact that Forbes ranked him the 70th most powerful man in the world in one of its recent editions, putting him in the company of luminaries, such as President Barack Obama (No. 2), Bill Gates (No. 7), Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos (No. 16), and Bill Clinton (No. 44).
Following his appeal hearing in Zurich this week into his eight-year ban from football-related activity, Sepp Blatter has reiterated his innocence. It seems unlikely that the decision will be turned, though.
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