A new election triumph in the midst of a corruption scandal established FIFA president Sepp Blatter as the politician who can come through any storm.
Unapologetically divisive, Blatter has had to deal with scandal virtually since his first day in office.
And Blatter knows that he still has a long way to go to reach the aim he outlined Friday of getting FIFA in a safe port “where the boats will stop rocking.”
“He sees it all like a marathon. And he is one of the most determined men you will meet,” said one FIFA executive member about the 79-year-old Swiss official.
Blatter, who has been at FIFA for 40 years, 17 as its president, went into the vote revered by some as the beautiful game’s ‘Jesus’ and scorned by others as a rogue clinging to power.
The arrest on Wednesday of seven FIFA officials wanted by US authorities for accepting tens of millions of dollars of bribes seemed like a hammer blow to the veteran sports baron.
But he came through allegations about ‘brown envelopes’ handed out before his first election in 1998 and the collapse of the ISL sports marketing empire.