Sepp Blatter: Wielding Power Through FIFA

  • Sandro Arcioni
  • Emmanuel Bayle
  • Hervé Rayner


Sepp Blatter’s four decades as a senior executive and then president of FIFA (1998–2015) left an enduring legacy for football, as the way in which he implemented and expanded the vision he shared with his predecessor, Joao Havelange, revolutionised FIFA’s management and finances. Nevertheless, his inability or unwillingness to introduce the reforms needed to stamp out the culture of corruption that permeated FIFA’s dealings, especially those involving its continental confederations. Despite his successes, the corrupt practices and clannish power system that permeated the highest levels of FIFA’s management eventually led to the collapse of the system he had instigated. In fact, the impact of FIFAgate (2015) was so great it shook the whole world of international sport.


  1. Arcioni, S. 2007. Les modalités de la gouvernance dans les organisations internationales à but non lucratif: le cas des Fédérations internationales sportives. Doctoral thesis, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France.Google Scholar
  2. Auclair, P., and E. Champel. 2015. FIFAgate. Paris: Michel Lafon.Google Scholar
  3. Bayle, E., and H. Rayner. 2016, September. Sociology of a Scandal: The Emergence of ‘FIFAgate’. In Soccer and Society. Routledge. Scholar
  4. Becker, R. 2013. World Cup 2026 Now Accepting Bribes: A Fundamental Transformation of FIFA’s World Cup Bid Process. International Sports Law Journal 13 (1–2): 132–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernaudeau, E. 2015. Blatter, Un monde à vendre [A World to Sell]. Paris: J-M. Lafont.Google Scholar
  6. Blake, H., and J. Calvert. 2015. The Ugly Game. The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  7. Bourg, J.-F., and J.-J. Goudet. 2012. Economie du Sport. Repères. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
  8. Carver, J. 1997. Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Non-profit and Public Organizations, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  9. Carver, J. 2001. Carver’s Policy Governance Model in Nonprofit Organizations. The Canadian journal Gouvernance - revue internationale 2 (1): 30–48.Google Scholar
  10. Chisari, F. 2006. Quand le football s’est mondialisé: la retransmission télévisée de la Coupe du Monde 1966. Histoire et sociétés 3 (18–19): 222–237.Google Scholar
  11. CIO. 2004. Rapport de la 117ème rapport du CIO, Athens. Lausanne: CIO.Google Scholar
  12. CIO. 2008. “Principes universels de base de bonne gouvernance du Mouvement olympique et sportif” du Comité International Olympique. Lausanne: CIO.Google Scholar
  13. Eisenberg, C. 2006. FIFA et politique, 1945–2004. Revue Autrement. No 120. Janvier 2006: 132–134.Google Scholar
  14. Eisenberg, C., T. Mason, P. Lanfranchi, and A. Wahl. 2004. La FIFA, 19042004. Le siècle du football, op. cit., 248.Google Scholar
  15. FIFA. 2004a. Le siècle du football, FIFA 1904–2004, Collection Beaux Livres. Paris: Cherche Midi.Google Scholar
  16. FIFA. 2004b. Rapport mondial de la FIFA sur le développement du football. Zurich: FIFA.Google Scholar
  17. FIFA. 2006a. Activity Report of the 56th FIFA Congress in Munich in 2006. Zurich: FIFA.Google Scholar
  18. FIFA. 2006b. FIFA Annual Report. Zurich: FIFA.Google Scholar
  19. FIFA. 2012. FIFA Annual Report. Zurich: FIFA.Google Scholar
  20. GRECO. 2015. 15th General Activity Report (2014). Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Available at:
  21. Hamil, S. 2008. Manchester United: The Commercial Development of a Global Football Brand. In International Cases in the Business of Sport, ed. S. Chadwick and D. Arthur, 114–134. Amsterdam: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Herren, A. 1994. 90ème anniversaire de la FIFA. 20 ans de présidence Joao Havelange: livre commémoratif. Zurich: Fédération Internationale de Football Association op. cit.Google Scholar
  23. Holt, M. 2007. Global Success in Sport: The Effective Marketing and Branding of the UEFA Champions League. International Journal of Sport Marketing & Sponsorship 9 (1): 51–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jennings, A. 2006. Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals. London: HarperSport.Google Scholar
  25. Jennings, A. 2014. Omertà: Sepp Blatter’s FIFA Organised Crime Family. London: Transparency Books.Google Scholar
  26. Jennings, A. 2015. The Dirty Game: Uncovering the Scandal at FIFA. London: Century.Google Scholar
  27. Perez, R. 2003. La gouvernance de l’entreprise. Paris: Ed. La Découverte.Google Scholar
  28. Pielke, R. 2013. How Can FIFA be Held Accountable? Sport Management Review 16: 255–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pierpoint, B. 2000. Heads Above Water: Business Strategies for a New Football Economy. Soccer & Society 1 (1): 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pieth, M. 2014. Reforming FIFA. St. Gallen: Dike Verlag.Google Scholar
  31. Silk, Michael L., David L. Andrews, and C.L. Cole. 2005. Sport and Corporate Nationalism. New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  32. Sudgen, J. 2002. Network Football. In Power Games. A Critical Sociology of Sport, ed. J. Sudgen and A. Tomlinson. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Sugden, J., and A. Tomlinson. 1998. FIFA and the Contest for World Football: Who Rules the Peoples’ Game?, pp. x + 294. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  34. Transparency International. 2011. Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA. Berlin: TI.Google Scholar
  35. Transparency International. 2015. Transparency International Football Governance League Table. Berlin: TI.Google Scholar
  36. Transparency International. 2016. Global Corruption Report: Sport.
  37. United States v. J. Webb et al. 2015. District Court Eastern District of New York.Google Scholar
  38. Yallop, D. 1999. How They Stole the Game. London: Poetic Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandro Arcioni
    • 1
  • Emmanuel Bayle
    • 2
  • Hervé Rayner
    • 3
  1. 1.Mupex SàrlLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Sports Studies (ISSUL), University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.University of Lausanne | UNIL, Institute of Sports ScienceLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations