Fifa bans Blatter and Platini for eight years
football, but the reaction has to be better. We lost our minds after the goal.
“I would say hopefully it’s the most disappointing moment in my whole Liverpool FC life.”
Liverpool looked a soft touch without powerful Belgian striker Christian Benteke, who Klopp dropped to recall Roberto Firmino.
Benteke has been linked with a January move to Chelsea, but Klopp insisted there was no chance
ZURICH — Facing criminal investigation and banned from VIP tribunes, Sepp Blatter cuts an increasingly lonely figure far from the football president who mixed with political heavyweights and tycoons.
When the 79-year-old Swiss powerbroker told a stunned Fifa congress this year that officials found guilty of misconduct would be booted out of world football, he would not have been thinking of himself.
But an eight-year ban from all football activity over a suspect $2 million payment to his former ally Michel Platini has left Blatter desperately battling to preserve his remaining claim to legitimacy as the man who brought untold riches to football.
Unashamedly divisive — some called him a “Jesus” and others a rogue — and supremely confident of his own ability, Blatter was for nearly two decades a global force as controller of the world’s most watched sporting event, the World Cup.
He repeatedly saw off all-comers after taking over as Fifa president from the scandaltainted Joao Havelange in 1998.
A useful amateur footballer who turned his hand to marketing, Blatter wheeled, dealed and shrugged off allegations of chicanery until Swiss police marched into a Zurich hotel in May and arrested seven Fifa officials.
It was two days before a congress at which he was aiming to secure a triumphant fifth term.
“Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game,” Blatter said the day after the stunning arrests carried out under US arrest warrants.
Blatter got his fifth term but with pressure mounting, announced four days later that he would stand down, with a new election later set for February 26.
Some still did not believe that he would give up. But a Swiss investigation into Fifa accounts and the “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs to Fifa vice-president Platini finally ended the Blatter reign. Both the former Aston Villa star would be sold just six months after moving to Anfield.
“That is the next problem. If you lose the games everyone is allowed to ask why didn’t you play this or that player,” he said.
“If it is the same probability as all the other transfer rumours I’ve read since I’ve been here then I’d say I’m pretty cool.”
Meanwhile, the mood in the Manchester United dressing room un- were temporarily suspended in October before they were finally banished on Monday.
Blatter has said many times he believes there is an international plot to oust him and that jealous rivals do not use the notion of fair play in their backroom battles with him.
“In my 40 years at Fifa I have learned to live with hostility and resentment,” he said in one commentary this year. “However, as the German language proverb puts it: sympathy is free, but envy must be earned.”
And rivals had a lot to be jealous of. Being der manager Louis van Gaal is not as bad as it was during the “glum” days of David Moyes’ tenure, defender Phil Jones has said after Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League loss to Norwich City.
A six-game winless streak in all competitions saw United bow out of the Champions League in the group stages and out of the top-four in the Premier League, nine points behind surprise leaders Leicester City after 17 games. head of Fifa for 17 years elevated Blatter to 70th place in the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people.
The former amateur footballer — an old fashioned striker — joined Fifa in 1975 from a post marketing Swiss watches.
Blatter, who also worked as a public relations official for a Swiss tourism department and as general secretary of the Swiss ice hockey federation, claims credit for building up much of Fifa’s financial muscle.
When he joined Fifa it was in a small Zu-