FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has been voted as sport’s most influential man in a poll conducted by Sportbusiness International magazine.
According to the publication, the 73-year-old Swiss enjoyed a ‘significant’ lead over his challengers which included David Stern of the NBA, Formula One’s Bernie Ecclestone and Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC.
The list was compiled from the results of voting on the reader’s poll on the sportbusiness.com website and the analysis of an expert panel.
Blatter, who has served FIFA for more than 30 years, as Technical Director, Secretary-General and as President for the past 11 years, was praised by Sportbusiness International for his work in the field of FIFA’s competitions, women’s football and the Football For Hope movement.
“His personal influence is naturally bolstered by the fact that he oversees the ‘Global Game’ and that the FIFA World Cup is undoubtedly the greatest single sport event in the world, generating massive TV audiences and huge amounts in commercial sponsorship,” wrote the magazine.
“Since assuming the presidency he has overseen the re-structuring of FIFA’s competition portfolio, seen women’s football gain an unprecedented degree of exposure and credibility and moved the organization into a shiny new palace of a headquarters in Zurich.
“[His] responsibility is being discharged in a number of different ways, not least of which is the Football For Hope movement which aims to use the power of football to drive sustainable social development around the world. Football for Hope supports and sustains a wide range of innovative and imaginative football-based projects on every continent.
“These projects are set up to deal with social issues ranging from encouraging children to stay in education, providing a focus and incentive to long-term unemployed youngsters. Some promote peace and conflict resolution, others health awareness, particularly in relation to AIDS in Africa.”