Sepp Blatter Defies Scandal to Move Up Influential Industry List

December 14, 2011

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has risen to Number 19 in the annual list of the “50 Most Influential People in Sports Business” published by Sports Business Journal (SBJ).

The Swiss’ ranking is up two places from the 2010 list despite the corruption scandals which have engulfed FIFA this calendar year and seen the association tarnished by accusations of bribery, in both World Cup bids and the presidential race, and Blatter himself accused of racism, ultimately leading to calls for him to resign.

The FIFA President’s rise in the SBJ list is probably indebted to the TV deals brokered by association for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, in Russia and Quatar respectively, which will secure $1.85 billion, predominantly from the networks Fox and Telemundo. It is likely that the plan to reform and “clean up” the 107-year-old association by 2013 in response to the recent unrest appeased any sceptics.

There were only two other contributors to the top twenty from the world of football – Robert Kraft, owner of the MLS side New England Revolution (eighth), and Tim Leiweke, AEG president and Chief of MLS Champions LA Galaxy (eleventh).