"You may think you know what FIFA is," FIFA president Sepp Blatter declared during a 2013 speech. "A faceless machine printing money at the expense of the beautiful game, with me pulling the strings and laughing all the way to the bank."
Blatter — who goes up for reelection today at the height of FIFA's corruption scandal — was of course trying to defend himself and the organization from these charges. But he went on to perfectly capture critics' views of FIFA in an utterly absurd, strangely poetic tirade:
There are those who will tell you that football is just a heartless, money-spinning game or just a pointless kick about on the grass.
There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist.
There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich, where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak.
They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat as my terrible sidekicks scour the earth to force countries to host the World Cup and to hand over all of their money.
True, there's no evidence that Blatter has the quintessential Bond villain's white Persian cat. But as Edwin Rios at Mother Jones points out, FIFA's executive committee boardroom in Zurich is often likened to a Bond villain's secret lair: