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The mistake happened on the SA government’s official website, where the The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo was bestowed on one “Joseph Sepp Bellend Blatter”.
The South African government most likely took Blatter’s name from his Wikipedia profile, which had been the target of angry fans or pranksters who christened the Fifa president with the derogatory second name. When the error came to light, the government webpage was quickly corrected.
Vandalism on Wikipedia’s editable content regularly makes headlines, often for less humurous acts. There’s even a term called “Death by Wikipedia” — a phenomenon in which a person is erroneously proclaimed dead through vandalism. Regular and increasing high-profile acts of vandalism have caused Wikipedia’s vocal critics to question the user-generated-content encyclopaedia’s reliability as a source.
A look at the page’s history reveals that other less creative attempts to alter Blatter’s name also include “Joseph Fucking Cunt Blatter” and “Joseph tosser Blatter”. (But it’s thought that the South African government would probably have spotted these.)
According to talk by Wikipedia power users, Blatter’s page has now been put under “protection” because of increasing vandalism attempts, now spurred on by media reportage of the South African government clanger.
With a hint of conspiracy, one user said he found it “odd that the ‘Bellend’ reference was added within an hour of that edit” with a forum post suggesting the Bellend reference “was on the government page two days earlier than it appeared here”.
Given the term’s English origin, in all likelihood the vandalism emanated from an English fan angry at Blatter’s initial opposition to goal-line technology. England lost to Germany during the World Cup after the referee mistakenly adjudged that the ball had crossed the goal line.