Nowhere in the 165-page federal indictment unsealed Wednesday charging numerous powerful world soccer officials with corruption does the name Sepp Blatter appear.
Blatter also wasn't among those arrested in a concurrent Swiss criminal inquiry into FIFA, the governing body of the world's most popular sport, of which he is president — although several of his most senior officials were taken into custody, including at least two FIFA vice presidents.
But one thing is undeniable: something happened to lead the Swiss authorities to bring down the hammer on FIFA and to persuade the Justice Department to bring 47 counts of racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice, tax and wire fraud and conspiracy against nine people. And it happened on Blatter's watch.
Joseph "Sepp" Blatter has led FIFA since 1998. By any measure, he is one of the world's most influential figures — the only sports figure on Forbes' list of the 100 most powerful people in the world.
"Sepp Blatter is Roger Goodell on steroids," said Richard Sheehan, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame who researches banking and the economics of sports — comparing Blatter to the all-powerful NFL commissioner.