Blatter's 17-Year Reign in Soccer Marked by Growth, Scandal

Sepp Blatter governed the biggest sport on Earth for nearly two decades, for years untouched personally by allegations of corruption, but never sharing the game's popularity.
He joked about his "Dr. Evil" image, like a James Bond villain manipulating soccer from his Swiss headquarters and never responding to public outcry. He surrounded himself with loyal lieutenants, many of whom he raised from obscurity to lead powerful national and regional federations. He put them in control of billions of dollars for TV contracts, endorsements of national teams and where the biggest tournaments were held.
After 17 years in charge and bringing the game's marquee events to new heights, the pressure became too much. The world's largest soccer nations were in open rebellion and discussing an alternate tournament to the World Cup. Sponsors from the world's most-popular soft drink to best-selling video game questioned their ties to FIFA.
At a hastily arranged announcement Tuesday, Blatter said he plans to resign and admitted he had lost too much support to remain in office.



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