Okay, are you ready for this?
Long-time FIFA president Sepp Blatter is apparently “ready to change”… according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
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In an interview with BBC Sport the head of the European Club Association (ECA), who is also chairman of Bayern Munich, stated that 79-year-old Blatter is willing to take the necessary steps to alter his image after years of criticism from the media, leading soccer figures across the world and everyone else in-between.
“In discussions we’ve had I always had the impression he was a bit upset about the fact he is criticized by the media as a whole,” Rummenigge said. “He’s ready to change. So I’m not so pessimistic about him. I’m quite optimistic that in FIFA things are changing in a good way.”
So, what do we make of all this?
Does Blatter really sit in his house looking despondently at a glass of sherry in the evening and pour through internet forums ripping him and his organization to shreds? I doubt it. But, Rummenigge (who had previously called for change at the top of FIFA) sheds light behind Blatter’s public facade to suggest the man who runs world soccer’s governing body may care about the game more than everybody thinks.
Even though many people will not like to hear this, given the vast amount of convicted and alleged corruption and plenty more skulduggery from FIFA members during Blatter’s time in charge, the fact of the matter is that when FIFA’s president election rolls around on May 29 in Zurich it would be a huge shock if Blatter doesn’t win and rule for a fifth-consecutive term.
The man has been in charge of FIFA since 1998 and has overseen a huge amount of growth in the game in all corners of the globe which has seen an embarrassment of riches pour into the organization through TV deals, sponsorship and plenty of other avenues. Blatter has done a lot of good, but often his leadership has been tainted by tunnel vision about which direction the global game is heading in and members of his Executive Committee dragging FIFA’s name through the mud.
Let’s hope Rummenigge is correct and a new Blatter emerges to lead world soccer between now and 2020, if he wins the election in May.