Joseph Sepp Blatter (1936 - )
The Order of the Baobab in
Profile of Joseph Sepp Blatter
Joseph Sepp Blatter was born on 10 March 1936 and is the eighth and current president of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), having been elected in June 1998. He was born and graduated in Switzerland before gaining a Bachelor’s degree at HEC Lausanne, the affiliated business school of the University of Lausanne.
His long and varied history includes posts such as head of public relations of the Valaisan Tourist Board in his native Switzerland, as well as general secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation. He was also director of sports timing and public relations of Longines SA and was involved in the organisation of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games.
Blatter has been working at FIFA since 1975, first as technical director (1975 – 1981) and then as general secretary (1981 – 1998) before his election as FIFA president in 1998. He was re-elected as head of FIFA in 2002, and was re-elected unopposed for another four years on 31 May 2007. Blatter was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2007 in the special category of Ambassador of Football. In April last year, the Japanese Government announced that it would be awarding the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun to him.
More than any other FIFA president, Blatter has been instrumental in pushing for an African World Cup and it’s largely through his efforts that South Africa is the proud host of the 2010 FIFA World CupTM. For many years, Blatter has also been committed to a wide range of humanitarian projects, since he believes that football bears a responsibility to society. He was the driving force behind a partnership with SOS children’s villages that started in 1994, going on to maintain more than 130 villages for children all over the world and benefitting from FIFA’s financial and material support.
Since being elected FIFA president in 1998, Blatter has formed an alliance with the United Nations Children’s Organisation (UNICEF) and co-launched the campaign “Pure Hope, Pure Football”, before embarking on the most recent campaign in collaboration with UNICEF on 20 November last year. “Say Yes for Children”, a campaign launched in the run-up to the World Cup, is a worldwide campaign which aims to increase awareness of children’s rights. For the first time ever, the World Cup was dedicated to a humanitarian cause under the slogan of “Say Yes for Children”.
Furthermore, he supported a joint project for Africa with the World Health Organisation, called “Kick Polio out of Africa”. FIFA also lends aid to refugee camps by providing them with football equipment, and he and FIFA are very much committed to fighting child labour. For that reason FIFA has, under his chairpersonship, signed a code of conduct with the International Labour Organisation.