Sepp Blatter at the Oxford Union: live blog


19:23: That’s all – in our editor’s words, the final whistle has blown. Sepp didn’t storm off the pitch like Galloway did back in February, but it was an interesting hour or so nonetheless. Thanks for sticking with OxStu, and have a good evening!

19:19: More laughs from the audience, as Blatter impersonates Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo by strutting theatrically across the stage. Definitely set to be the next member of the Imps.

19:15: Parenting is clearly a big issue for Sepp. He has just described Barcelona player Lionel Messi as “a good boy who every mother or father would like to have”.

19:13: “Fifa was not against goal-line technology,” claims Sepp. Meanwhile, football reform group changeFIFA have tweeted “Telling: Blatter speaking at Oxford appears to respond to questions about FIFA with a personal pronoun: “I’m” per @tomough“.

19:08: We’re now on the topic of women in football. Sepp says: “We are doing such a lot for women’s football…even in Arabian countries”. I wonder if Tom is still “sepptical”?

19:06: Blatter has just been asked whether FIFA was responsible for the projected 4000 deaths of workers in Qatar. He said he is “not responsible for everything that is happening in the world”. Despite the searching questions, he is probably grateful that there has (so far!) been no repeat of the greeting that faced George Galloway when he spoke at the Union last week.

19:03: Henry Zeffman, co-chair elect of Oxford University’s Labour Club, tweets: “Pretty sure that Sepp Blatter just claimed that FIFA could solve Israel/Palestine. Obviously.”

19:02: Sepp is against the use of boycotts in sport. “Boycott has never given us any solutions. You cannot run away from problems.”

19:00: We’re moving to pre-submitted questions now. Hopefully this time he won’t storm out like he did when taking questions at a press conference in May 2011, just after he claimed he wouldn’t “go into discussions with people that like to create problems”. Union hacks, take note.

18:52: He’s remaining tight-lipped on whether he will run in 2015. No, he’s not talking about Downing Street any more – this time it’s about the FIFA presidency, when he comes up for re-election in two years’ time.

18:50: Blatter’s passion for politics clearly extends to his ego, as he is now comparing himself to Prime Minister David Cameron. He thinks he has a harder job at FIFA than Brasenose alumnus Cameron does at Number 10.

18:49: Sepp claims that match-fixing, violence and corruption are “enemies of the game”.

18:47: Brazil are next up to host the World Cup, in 2014. Blatter says they will have to “work very hard” to match the “excitement and success” of South Africa, who held the tournament in 2010.

18:45: Top class puns from our editor, who is “sepptical” about Blatter’s claim that the World Cup is a “magical economic stimulus”.

18:41: Sepp looks like he might be planning a career change from top football bureaucrat to motivational speaker. He apparently knows “how important it is to inspire”, and thinks “people are guided by their ambitions”.

18:37: Blatter has issued a direct appeal to his Oxford Union audience, asserting that he is “here to challenge your perceptions of me and FIFA”. He has also raised a few laughs in the chamber after comparing himself to someone “printing money and laughing all the way to the bank”, in an apparent reference to various alleged FIFA corruption scandals over his tenure.

18:32: “I know I’m not perfect, but nobody is.”

18:30: Our live-tweeting editor Tom Ough has at least some praise for Sepp, claiming he is “steadfast in his disregard for workers’ rights in Qatar and minorities’ in Russia”.

18:28: The inspirational messages are coming thick and fast. He recalls himself as a “helpless baby struggling for life”, and his mother told him to “never give up on the work you believe in”.

18:25: He’s staying on the media theme, claiming that “the British media and FIFA have a very interesting relationship”. He will be making a media appearance of his own next year, as a movie of his life – starring Pulp Fiction’s Tim Roth – is set to be released.

18:19: We’re on the subject of racism now, with Blatter insisting “We must punish with points deductions or suspensions”. He also says “You cannot make everyone happy”. Our editor Tom Ough is in the chamber – you can follow him on Twitter here.

18:16: Blatter turns his attention to current affairs. He comes out in support of a “free and vibrant press” and claims to be “passionate about politics”.

18:15: Blatter says his father told him he’d “never make a living from football”. FIFA was criticised in May for keeping his salary a secret, so presumably his father has been proven wrong.

18:10: Union President Parit Wacharasindhu is discussing the 2022 World Cup. It is due to be held in Qatar, but FIFA was criticised earlier this year for the choice of venue after claims it would be too hot for most players.

18:08: Blatter has arrived in the Union chamber to applause and boos from the audience.

18:02: Welcome to the OxStu’s live blog of FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s visit to the Oxford Union. Our editor Tom Ough and former editor James Restall are tweeting live from the venue – you can follow Tom’s tweets here.