Blatter's Fifa presidency is a farce that's fast turning into a tragedy: Oliver Holt opinion
There is a cartoon Benny Hill running world football and everybody’s laughing at him, not with him.
In the past, Fifa president Sepp Blatter has prompted horrified amusement by suggesting women footballers could improve the popularity of the game by wearing tighter shorts.
He has told gay men to stop worrying about travelling to Qatar, where homosexuality is banned, for the 2022 World Cup finals and to simply abstain from having sex while they are there.
He has reproached the English for having the gall to expose deep-seated corruption within the Fifa organisation that he appears to run as a private fiefdom.
And Blatter, 75, said allegations that John Terry had had an affair with a former teammate’s ex-partner would have made him a hero in Latin American countries.
He has become a one-man embarrassment for the game, a dictator who has turned the organisation of the world’s richest sport into a laughing stock.
So his assertion that there was no racism in football and that players who had been abused should settle the matter by shaking hands at the end of the game merely fitted a pattern of absurdity.
The sad reality is that, since he was elected president of Fifa in 1998, Blatter’s tenure and the rise of the power of club football have combined to hasten the decline of the international game.
He was praised for encouraging Fifa to award the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, the first time the tournament had taken place on that continent.
But by the time it was staged, the tournament had become de-Africanised by Fifa’s rampant commercialism and the quality of the football was a huge disappointment.
Blatter has also glibly presided over the most outrageous football scandal of modern times, the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the fabulously rich Gulf state of Qatar.
Fifa chose Qatar despite the fact that summer temperatures there often hit 122F and that it has a population the size of Manchester’s.
With international football already facing a battle to compete for the commitment of players in the face of the increasing demands of club football, the decision risks turning the international game into a laughing stock.
In the aftermath of the decision, a rash of allegations about bribery and corruption within Fifa surfaced.
Part of Blatter’s response was to set up a solutions committee with members including those famous football luminaries Henry Kissinger and opera singer Placido Domingo.
Like we said, laughing at him, not with him.