Sport

Blatter: “I did not resign”

You've got the hand it to the guy. He's not going down without a fight.

Just four weeks after it seemed that he had finally taken the hint that the rampant corruption that has been going on at FIFA under his reign as President was not really acceptable, it seems he has now done U-turn faster than Johann Cruyff.

According to the Swiss newspaper Blick, Blatter told a party at the FIFA museum in Zurich, "I did not resign. I put myself and my office in the hands of the Fifa congress".

He continued, "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."

Wily old Sepp with FBI informant Chuck Blazer

To be fair to Blatter, in his unexpected 2 June speech following his re-election as FIFA supremo four days previously, he never used the actual term "resign", saying instead that he had "decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as Fifa president until that election." He began by saying that, "while I have a mandate from the membership of Fifa, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football."

However, it now appears that the sly old dog could well be standing again when that new election happens, which was originally expected to be sometime later in the autumn. While he did say in his original speech that “I shall not be a candidate”, his former adviser Klaus Stöhlker told the Guardian that he would reconsider, “if there was no other viable candidate". And if he did stand, he would surely win, given that he won the original election easily.

It's not really a surprise, following the classic dictator's handbook: initially deny everything and hope it all blows over, then if it doesn't announce a measure which looks substantive but is really buying more time to hope it all blows over, whilst never actually relinquishing power. Idi Amin would be proud.

Nonetheless, with the American and Swiss investigations continuing, further revelations could finally - finally - make his position truly untenable. Although we wouldn't bet against the only way Blatter will be taken out of FIFA is in a wooden box.

(Image: Rex)