Sepp Blatter, on Eve of FIFA Election, Is Exiting ‘a Happy Man’


Sepp Blatter has been president of FIFA, soccer’s governing body, for 18 years.

Daniel Auf der Mauer for The New York Times

ZURICH — A day before he was to relinquish his title as the most powerful man in sports, Sepp Blatter already had his final morning as FIFA president planned. He said he would wake up and dance a little, as he always does (Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” is a favorite). He would monitor the election, he said. But he turned down several offers from friends, journalists and, he said, even a priest, to give him company while his FIFA career was to officially come to a close.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Blatter, the president of world soccer’s governing body for 18 years and a central cog in its operation for more than four decades, was alternately upbeat and reflective, wistful and whimsical, spiritual and — perhaps most of all — unbowed regarding how he will remembered.

Casually dressed and at ease at a table at Sonnenberg, the restaurant and private club near FIFA’s headquarters that features a FIFA salad on its menu, Mr. Blatter…

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