3 Jun 2015

Sepp Blatter's 40 year FIFA career

8:05 am on 3 June 2015

Sepp Blatter's decision to end his career as FIFA president comes as the organisation is engulfed by the worst corruption crisis in its history.

Just days after being re-elected as president of football's world governing body and insisting he was the man to lead reform at the organisation, Mr Blatter appeared before the media this morning to announce that after "deep reflection", he had decided to quit after all.

Sepp Blatter has called time on a long FIFA career.

Sepp Blatter has called time on a long FIFA career. Photo: AFP

The dramatic arrest of FIFA officials on 27 May in their Zurich hotel rooms as they gathered for a congress cast a dark cloud over his re-election for an unprecedented fifth four-year term, but until today all the signs suggested he was determined to carry on in the top job.


Sepp Blatter was born to a modest family in the alpine town of Visp

After school Mr Blatter followed a not unusual career pattern for a Swiss man in the 1960s and 70s. He did his obligatory service in Switzerland's militia army, rising to the rank of colonel.

Mr Blatter then worked in the watch industry, and increasingly in sports management, serving at the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation before moving to FIFA as its technical director in 1975.

In 1981, the multilingual Swiss was appointed general secretary by FIFA's executive committee and later made CEO in 1990.

Mr Blatter played a leading role in negotiating the TV and marketing contracts for the commercial exploitation of the World Cup up to 2006 - greatly enriching the organisation.

FIFA's website says it has financial reserves of $US1.5 billion as at the end of the 2014 financial year.

At the end of March 1998 he was elected FIFA President for the first time and subsequently re-elected in 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Mr Blatter has survived a series of scandals during his career at FIFA including widespread accusations that Qatar bought the right to stage the 2022 World Cup in a country with little football history and where summer temperatures regularly top 40 degrees Celsius. Qatar has always denied any wrongdoing.

FIFA President Joseph Blatter in Cape Town, South Africa, 2009.

FIFA President Joseph Blatter in Cape Town, South Africa, 2009. Photo: AFP

Sepp Blatter - biography

  • Country of Birth: Switzerland
  • Date of birth: 10 March 1936
  • Mother tongue: German
  • Other languages: French, English, Spanish, Italian
  • Residence: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Member of FIFA executive committee since 1998
  • Positions: FIFA President (since 1998), General Secretary 1981-1998, Technical Director 1975-1981

- FIFA website, BBC, agencies

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