Under Sepp Blatter, it wasn’t all bad

His motive may have been votes, but the former president of Fifa’s gesture in taking the World Cup to South Africa was important

In his days as a performer in Las Vegas, the late Dean Martin once sidled up to the microphone and told his audience: “I’d like to tell you some of the good things the mafia is doing.” His listeners, many of them aware of the Rat Pack’s connections, got the joke.

As Sepp Blatter’s opponents revelled in the sight of a suddenly aged and crumpled figure announcing his decision to step down from the presidency of Fifa this week, they need to remember that good things as well as bad happened during his reign over world football. If the game’s governing body is to re-emerge in a more satisfactory form, those in charge of its reconstruction will have to base their work on his achievements as well as on a cleansing of the stables.

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