Watch Sepp Blatter Lash Out Against FIFA’s Critics in 2013

 

In October 2013, at the Oxford Union, FIFA president Sepp Blatter took aim at critics who viewed soccer’s international governing body as “a faceless machine printing money at the expense of the beautiful game.” (He also mocked Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for how much he spends on his hair.) Blatter told the crowd:

There are those who will tell you that football is just a heartless, money-spinning game or just a pointless kick about on the grass. There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist. There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich, where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak. They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat as my terrible sidekicks scour the earth to force countries to host the World Cup and to hand over all of their money. You might laugh. It is strange how fantasy so easily becomes confused with fact. And it feels almost absurd to have to say this. But that is not who we are. Not FIFA. Not me.

(You can watch the whole speech below—It’s very long! He talks very slowly!—but the key bits are in the video up top.) 

These words resonate now, as Blatter sets his sights on a fifth term at the head of the organization amid pressure and criticism following a series of corruption-related charges on senior FIFA officials that have roiled the sport.

But remember that “Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich” Blatter was talking about? Well, Swiss photographer Luca Zanier snapped a photo of FIFA executive committee’s boardroom in Zurich, and it looks villain-esque. John Oliver even likened it to the war room in Dr. Strangelove.

 

Here is Blatter’s full speech, courtesy of the Oxford Union:

 

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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