Russian President, Vladmir Putin just announced during an interview with a Swiss broadcaster RTS, that Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his work of leading world soccer's governing body.
Now it got me thinking ,what does the Russian leader have in common with the Swedish administrator?what is the nexus between these two men,well for one thing they both have controversial leadership tenures, they have almost a fanatical group of supporters who term them as heroes and equally an aggressive group of detractors who label them as villains.
Now not to diminish any of Blatter’s achievements this man has won countless of awards and taken FIFA to greater heights during his seventeen year reign, He sought to increase the influence of African and Asian countries in world football through the expansion of participating teams in various FIFA tournaments.
Blatter's reign has overseen a vast expansion in revenues generated by the FIFA World Cup and Africa in particular has enjoyed hosting rights of the biggest football tournament in the world. However he has persistently been dogged by claims of corruption and financial mismanagement.
Vladmir Putin on the other hand was an officer in the KGB for sixteen years and president of Russia on and off for thirteen years, when he first became president, real income in Russia rose by a factor of 2.5, while real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved. Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction also rose significantly, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years
He reduced taxes for his citizens and his energy policy affirmed Russia’s position as an energy Super Power. A rise in foreign investment contributed to a boom in such sectors as the automotive industry,but yet many of Putin's actions are regarded by the domestic opposition and foreign observers as undemocratic and shifting the Russia from a Hybrid to an authoritarian regime. In 2014, Russia was temporarily suspended from the G8 group as a result of its annexation of Crimea.
There you have it, two powerful men who have contributed to improving positively the places where they exercised their leader skills but were also very averse to letting go of power and (I will say it) pissing off the western nations. Accusations of bribery and financial misconduct had always trailed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president but he definitely met his waterloo when England lost the world cup bid to …you guessed it Russia. even with their impressive delegation that included one of the English's best looking export (David Beckham) and their beloved Prince William, England still got floored by Russia on the votes.
Blatter seemed to stick the dagger in deeper at their back by referring to the English as “sore losers” , yeah he probably should have guessed that his days were numbered after that.
What has followed since then ,have been countless arrests and investigations of senior FIFA Officials on allegations of fraud and mismanagement of funds,racketeering, wire fraud , money laundering geez all sorts of financial misconduct , these arrests played out in the public like a Mafia movie gone bad. In all this the strong man Blatter remained untouched.lack of evidence of the allegations against Blatter led to his non indictment by the FIFA ethics committee , but suddenly without warning Sepp Blatter finally announced his resignation in June 2015.
What does Putin think about the whole situation? He does not believe Blatter was involved in the corruption.and has alleged that the US and UK were behind the probe because they lost out in the 2018 and 2022 championships.
Sigh these two men, what will history write about them when they are gone? are they heroes or villains? I guess it depends on who you ask.