Is Sepp Blatter just insane or what? That’s about the only question that comes to mind when you hear that, yes, as reports hinted at a couple weeks ago, ol’ Sepp doesn’t actually plan on relinquishing his grasp of the FIFA presidency any time soon—this time coming from the man himself.
Here’s what he was quoted as saying today, courtesy of the Guardian:
Blatter sparked a fresh wave of speculation when a Swiss newspaper reported him as saying: “I have not resigned, I put my mandate in the hands of an extraordinary congress.”
With a typically obtuse flourish, the 79-year-old added: “Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future. Or in other words: the ball is round – but only those who come from outer space know the actual dimensions of our sport … For me personally, the museum is a labour of love. But do not get me wrong: I’m not ready for the museum nor for a waxwork yet.”
Contradicting himself, he went on to add that the impending presidential election would not include him as a candidate and that the winner would be his successor.
As was the case when the original report about Blatter possibly rethinking what we all assumed was his resignation, FIFA officials are now insisting that he didn’t actually mean what he said and will no longer be president come 2016.
Nevertheless, these comments, the earlier reports, and additional ones made by friends of the Emperor mean there must be some kind of wacky plan pinging around Blatter’s skull. From the Guardian again:
The comments, and recent on-the -record quotes by his former adviser Klaus Stöhlker, are being viewed by many as an attempt to destabilise his opponents, including the Uefa president, Michel Platini.
Stöhlker, an adviser to Blatter during his re-election campaign, told the Guardian that Blatter would reconsider “if there was no other viable candidate” and that if he stood he would win.
This whole ordeal is starting to resemble Donald Sterling’s long and strange exit from the NBA. Here is a very rich, very old, very powerful man who by any rational account has been cornered into an untenable situation and will soon be out of power one way or the other.
The difference is that Sterling continued believing in his chances at maintaining his position out of what appeared to be genuine, medical dementia. Blatter says things that make you think at least a couple circuits in his brain’s wiring must be fried, but when you hear them coming out of his own mouth, he presents them with such charm that you believe he knows exactly what he’s doing, and might even get away with it.
Either way—demented old man or snake-charmer—there may still be more fight in this old dog.