Defamed FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, got an unpleasant surprise when he was the target of notorious prankster/comedian Lee Nelson during a press conference. Blatter was preparing to announce reforms to the association as well as a date for the election of FIFA’s new president.
The incident started when Nelson (whose real name is Simon Brodkin) approached Blatter moments before the press conference started, posing as a bidding delegate for the World Cup in North Korea. Nelson presented an obviously angry Blatter with a stack of fake banknotes, saying, “Sepp, this is for North Korea in 2026.” Then, as Nelson was briskly ushered out by security, he tossed the bills in the air, letting them shower around the outgoing president, and announced, “Cheers, Sepp—it’s all there.”
Nelson’s stunt was an obvious dig at the continuing corruption scandal surrounding FIFA and Blatter, specifically with regards to money laundering, wire fraud, racketeering, and tax evasion. After news of the U.S. indictments against 14 FIFA execs surfaced, Sepp Blatt announced that he would be stepping down from his position.
Blatter’s presidential successor will subsequently be elected on February 26, 2016 and candidates must be nominated prior to October 26, 2015. Michel Platini, president of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) is currently being pegged as the frontrunner, although he has yet to officially throw his hat in the ring.
The new president will be part of a “reform taskforce,” which, according to Blatter, will help to restore FIFA’s credibility. But not everyone is convinced. “This is not a Sepp Blatter problem, it’s a cultural problem,” said Jaimie Fuller, founder of a sportswear company and avid backer of a campaign in favor of independent intervention. “The problem is way bigger than the president,” continued Fuller. “I don’t believe Platini or anybody else has the ability to go in and see what needs to be done.”
“Lee Nelson showers Fifa president Sepp Blatter with dollar bills,” The Telegraph web site, July 20, 2015; http://goo.gl/ffPPjo.
Gibson, O., “Fifa announce presidential election will be held in February 2016,” The Guardian web site, July 20, 2015; http://goo.gl/t47zSb.