Sepp Blatter, the former president of FIFA who was ousted after the Justice Department caught his organization doing a corruption or two, hasn’t been one to shy away from an interview despite being quite a reviled figure in the sport he used to be in charge of. His latest take comes courtesy of Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende, where he points out the real problem with soccer nowadays: money.
“People already pay a lot to get into the stadium. Prices are getting higher and higher, because clubs need more money,” Blatter said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende published on Saturday.
The 83-year-old added his belief that viewer numbers are falling this season in the French, Italian, English, Spanish and German leagues.
“That is a bad sign. Football must remain accessible,” he said.
It’s no surprise that a rich old dude who regularly saw six- to seven-figure checks sent his way is one of those smooth-brained individuals who believe that a club spending less money will immediately lead to cheaper prices. That being said, you’d think that Blatter of all people would understand a club owner’s choice to do something only for the sake of making more money—which is often the reason behind these price hikes in the first place.
But this isn’t a case of ignorance as much as it’s one of making a calculated, albeit ironic, statement. Blatter told the New York Times that he plans to file a lawsuit against FIFA for pension payments and to clear his name from wrongdoing related to the global corruption scandal that rocked the organization in 2015. He was banned from the sport for eight years—which was eventually reduced to six—and is currently waiting for a decision from Switzerland’s attorney general on whether to pursue criminal corruption charges against Blatter. Positioning himself in the press as someone who cares about what the average consumer spends at a game is definitely an attempt to seem less inherently greedy to whatever judicial force eventually comes after him.
If that is his plan, however, his words probably won’t have the impact he wants them to given what he says is included in the rest of his potential lawsuit. Blatter is told the Times that he also wants to sue FIFA because the organization has taken a long time in getting his collection of expensive watches back to him. It’s hard to look like a man of the people when a prized possession of yours is a collection of wristwear worth millions of dollars. That task becomes even harder when you reportedly are willing to forgive a promised payment of $12 million in order to get those watches back.