If you haven't been near a television recently, or haven't heard the mumblings of passers-on whispering about FIFA and who this shady Sepp Blatter person is, allow me to give you a brief introduction to one of the greatest James Bond villains of all time.
Blatter is the president of FIFA, the governing body over world soccer, and he's a pretty bad dude. He was elected in 1998, and began working for the organization in 1975 -- first as a technical director and then a general secretary until he eventually succeeded Joāo Havelange to the presidency.
He grew up in Switzerland and even worked as a reasonably good journalist before ascending the ranks in FIFA. But after he got there, it seemed Blatter had a taste for power.
To be fair, FIFA hasn't been a necessarily clean organization for quite some time. Havelange had his own scandals to deal with, with the most obvious case coming in 1992 when Peter Kronenberg, the head of the press office for the Amsterdam Olympic Games 1992 Foundation, claiming that the then-FIFA president received myriad gifts in connection with Amsterdam's failed bid to get the Games.
But if Havelange began the whispers, Blatter has surely turned them into shouts. Blatter has been in the middle of a few scandals, from allegedly taking bribes in order to gift certain countries World Cups to taking money and using it in "interesting" ways.
Now, Blatter appears to be in real trouble. After gaining re-election over Prince Ali bin Hussein on Friday, it appears that the world has four more years of Blatter. But there is good news, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is [finally] investigating one of the most corrupt figures in sports.
The DOJ has already indicted 14 members after Swiss authorities smashed into a hotel in Zurich unannounced and pushed the world of soccer into American prominence. It takes quite a bit to get soccer to dominate the headlines for an entire day in the U.S. and it seems that many are heeding the DOJ's warning that this is "just the beginning."
Even so, Blatter has been re-elected while executive members of Concacaf, the group of countries that includes North and Central America along with the Caribbean islands, are in the middle of the controversy. If the DOJ can get enough evidence to connect Blatter with the illegal actions that he appears to have done with, now-former, Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb and the man he succeeded, Jack Warner, it may be the end of Blatter.
To tell of all the illegal things that Blatter has allegedly done would take a post of over 2000 words but I'll leave you with this.
1. Until the DOJ can convict Blatter of something, the world is stuck with him.
2. The DOJ do appear to be all business here, especially due to America's involvement in the scandals. If this really is just the beginning, be on the lookout for more FIFA officials getting indicted on charges and for the executive committee of FIFA to crack after the amount of negative spotlight its getting.
3. Blatter allegedly accepted bribes to give the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. That would be fine if the World Cup wasn't held in summer, where temperatures in Qatar can reach up to 140. There is also the problem of the country not having any stadiums, but rest assured that the Qatari government has you covered there, as slave labor is apparently being put into practice. With many workers coming from poorer countries like Nepal, it has been reported that they have been deprived of payment, proper facilities and the ability to return home to visit their loved ones.
4. To go along with my previous point, the Washington Post reported that around 1,200 people have already died trying to build these stadiums and that around 4,000 will die before a single ball is kicked in the oil-rich state. That's staggering if you take a look at the chart that the Post put together, and with many other countries more suited to host the World Cup in 2022, this could be a huge factor in bringing down Blatter.
5. Finally, through all this Blatter has retained deniability, even cursing those who've been caught and saying that he can't police them all. When you are in charge of an organization as big as FIFA, that might be a decent excuse for some problems, but not the things that FIFA is being accused of. And to proclaim that he is the president of everybody during his re-election speech is downright criminal.
If you ever needed a reason to believe this man is a Bond villain, this is it. Take solace in the fact that he won't be running again in 2019 and we might actually see some change.