“Crisis what crisis?” was Fifa President’s reaction to a journalist’s question at a press conference called by the football’s governing body yesterday.
There is little doubt that, to those outside the organisation, it’s in crisis. For years there have been claims of mismanagement and even corruption which has reached new levels in the last week with leading members of FIFA’s governing committees turning on themselves.
Yesterday, appearing to react to the growing press clamour for answers, Blatter called a press conference.
As it turned out the conference should be shown to any CEO who might have to face the media as an example of how to appear out of touch and in denial.
He patronised the journalists, stopping at one point – when a murmur went around the room as he avoided actually answering the questions – to tell the room to show him more respect.
His whole approach was adversarial and showed contempt for the journalists who dared to ask any difficult questions. He certainly was not trying to show any contrition or win any media battle. The premise was this: he was right; they were wrong.
He had the perfect opportunity to draw a line under the accusations by calling a wide, independent inquiry which would at least have bought him more time. Looking at the media reaction today the whole event has left him, and the organisation, more damaged.
Blatter is going to need a better crisis management plan and attitude towards the media if he is ultimately going to survive this one.