Joseph S. Blatter
Country of Birth
Date of Birth
10 March 1936
French, English, Spanish, Italian
Place of Residence
FIFA Executive Member Since
General Secretary 1981-1998, Technical Director 1975-1981
Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter was born on 10 March 1936 in the Swiss town of Visp, near the famous Matterhorn. He graduated from the Sion and St. Maurice colleges in Switzerland with a school-leaving certificate and then gained a degree as Bachelor of Business Administration and Economics from the Faculty of Law at Lausanne University. Joseph Blatter has one daughter.
On 8 June 1998 Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland) was elected as the successor to Dr. João Havelange (Brazil) as the eighth FIFA President. This victory at the 51st FIFA Ordinary Congress in Paris (France) elevated Joseph S. Blatter, who had already served FIFA in various positions for twenty-three years, onto the highest rang in international football.
Mr. Blatter began his professional career as Head of Public Relations of the Valaisan Tourist Board in his native Switzerland and then became General Secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation (1964). He then pursued journalistic and public relations activities in the fields of sport and private industry. As Director of Sports Timing and Public Relations of Longines S.A., he was involved in the organisation of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games, acquiring his first taste of the international sports scene.
In the summer of 1975, as Director of Technical Development Programmes at FIFA, Mr. Blatter began to set President João Havelange's projects into motion. It was the time when ideas for competition and educational programmes were germinating and the foundations being laid for competitions in the under-20 and under-17 categories as well as women's and indoor (futsal) football, all of which are pillars of FIFA's worldwide activity.
In 1981 the Executive Committee of the world governing body designated the multilingual Blatter as the new General Secretary and in 1990 promoted him to Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A total of five World Cups were staged under his auspices (Spain in 1982, Mexico in 1986, Italy in 1990, USA in 1994 and France in 1998). At the same time he played a leading role in the negotiations for the television and marketing contracts and the modern commercialisation of the FIFA World Cup up to the year 2006 alongside his predecessor in the presidency, João Havelange.
At the end of March 1998 the direct support and the interest manifested by numerous national associations from all the confederations prompted him to stand at the 1998 FIFA Congress presidential election as their candidate. Joseph S. Blatter was re-elected for a second term on 29 May 2002 in Seoul. On Thursday 31 May, Joseph S. Blatter was confirmed, by acclamation, in the position for a third term of office and he was elected to a fourth term on 1 June 2011.
Philosophy: football for all, all for football
Joseph S. Blatter is one of the most versatile and experienced exponents of international sports diplomacy and is totally committed to serving football, FIFA and the youth of the world. The International Olympic Committee acknowledged Mr Blatter's achievements by electing him as a new committee member (the 104th) at the 109th session in Seoul on 20 June.
The FIFA President's many years of service in various domains of world football have given him the know-how and vision which are the prerequisites for steering football into the new millennium and for mastering the array of challenges in modern-day football. By setting up a permanent communications network based on state-of-the-art technology, Blatter aims to integrate not only the principal male protagonists into world football's decision-making process but increasingly also their female counterparts - women players, coaches and referees. He also aims at closer cooperation with the confederations, national associations, leagues and clubs and a more open dialogue with FIFA's economic, political, social and cultural partners.
Football is the quintessential team sport which, for the FIFA President, spells "basic education, character formation and fighting spirit, allied with respect and discipline". Reinforced by the message of fair play, this will all be instrumental in fostering better understanding among all people around the world. "Football is synonymous with theatre and entertainment and is hence an object of unequalled fascination for the media. It can even spark artistic creativity and, of course, creates many jobs. But it is above all an endless source of passion and joy. It is physical movement that simultaneously moves the emotions. It is the most popular and talked-about game in the world". That is why his motto is "FOOTBALL FOR ALL, ALL FOR FOOTBALL."
In the world's less privileged areas football is able to inspire hope and the promise of social advancement. Joseph S. Blatter intends to ensure that football makes a valuable contribution towards improving public health standards by means of relevant technical and scientific research thus proving that it plays an extremely important role in society in a variety of ways.
The immense success of football has made it a magnet for a host of economic interest groups. The FIFA President is nevertheless determined to safeguard the game's human face. Maintaining a sound balance between the manifold facets of football is what he describes as "a constant challenge and at the same time my main objective".
For many years, Joseph S. Blatter has also been committed to a wide range of humanitarian projects, since he believes that football bears a responsibility to society.
Joseph S. Blatter was the driving force behind a partnership with SOS Children's Villages that started in 1994. This organisation maintains more than 130 villages for children all over the world and it benefits from FIFA's financial and material support.
Since he was elected FIFA President in June 1998, Joseph S. Blatter has formed an alliance with the United Nations children's organisation, UNICEF, and he 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 UN's health organisation, the WHO, called "Kick polio out of Africa". Blatter 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 chairmanship, signed a code of conduct with the ILO, the United Nations International Labour Organisation.
Joseph S. Blatter is also member of the Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency, as an IOC representative in this important entity.