(CNN) – Sepp Blatter is often described as the sporting world’s most powerful man. He’s ruled soccer’s world governing body for 17 years, and he’s guided that organization to enormous financial success.
Between 2011 and 2014, its total revenue was 5.7 billion dollars. It’s declared cash reserves: 1.5 billion. However, while money has flooded in, rumors and reports of corruption have flourished.
Blatter hasn’t been linked directly to any wrong doing. His grip on FIFA has stayed strong and he’s promised to clean up the organization.
“We have started in 2011 with (the) reform process. The reform process is not over, so i would like to have these four years to finish it to show that FIFA is more than a game,” said Blatter.
Blatter’s commitment to rooting out corruption has been tested in recent years. Persistent reports of dodgy dealings in awarding Qatar and Russia, the next two world cups led to an internal investigation.
After receiving a roughly 500 page report, FIFA declared no major wrong doing was discovered, the matter was closed and the full report won’t be published for some time.
The report’s author, former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, was furious. He accused FIFA of misrepresenting his work and later resigned.
Now, Swiss authorities say they’re looking into the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 world cup. While American investigators are examining alleged bribes and kickbacks to secure media, marketing and sponsorship rights.
FIFA’s response: This is painful but necessary.
According to Walter De Gregorio, FIFA spokesman, “For us it is a hard time, it is not nice to be here in front of you to explain something that is not nice, but at the same time, and I can confirm to you, for us, for FIFA this is good. This is good what happens. It confirms that we are on the right track. It hurts, it’s not easy but it’s the only way to go.”
FIFA’s “right track” now includes international criminal investigations. Critics say it’s further proof the organization’s efforts under Blatter’s leadership to clean its own has house have failed.