November 28, 2023

Calls for Blatter to quit over race row

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter is facing increasing calls to quit after his gaffe in the fight against racism.

The FIFA president is facing renewed demands for his resignation after dismissing on-pitch racism with an astonishing response.

Asked directly by a CNN reporter if racism exists on the pitch, Blatter denied it and said such incidents should simply be settled by a handshake at the end of the match.

‘I would deny it,’ he said. ‘There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one, but also the one who is affected by that, he should say that this is a game.

‘We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen. On the field of play sometimes you say something that is not very correct, but then at the end of the game you have the next game where you can behave better.’

To a reporter from Al-Jazeera he simply compounded the situation.

‘During a match you may say something to somebody who is not exactly looking like you,’ he said. ‘But at the end… it’s forgotten.’

It comes as Luis Suarez was charged by the FA over allegations that he racially abused Patrice Evra.

At the same time, England captain John Terry remains the subject of an FA inquiry and a formal Metropolitan Police investigation into claims that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last month.

Now Blatter is facing a fight to hold on to his job after a backlash from the world of football.

After Rio Ferdinand’s Twitter rant, UK Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said: ‘This is incredibly serious but it is part of a pattern of behaviour.

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez charged by the English FA

Asked whether Blatter should go, Robertson said: ‘Yes. I can’t see there’s anything terribly new in this. We’ve been saying this for some time. Sepp Blatter will expect the English and the English press to pile in on him.’

Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor weighed in by saying: ‘He is the leader of world football, he has to be a leader in anti-racism.

‘Racism is divisive and for him to say the player on the receiving end should forget about it at the end of the game and shake hands…we are going backwards… it is not good enough, it’s embarrassing.

‘And coming on top of his comments which were offensive about female footballers, his homophobic comments about homosexuals not going to Qatar, the World Cup bidding process, he won’t have technology over goalline decisions and the corruption which is so plainly evident at FIFA. It is time for him to go.

‘He has presided over a lot of issues which haven’t been good enough. If he is the leader of world football I am not going to be a follower and I can’t believe anyone could follow him.

‘It can’t be acceptable and I believe it is the straw which broke the camel’s back. He should step aside so we can see what Michel Platini can do.’

Blatter is desperately attempting to resolve the issue and has even taken to Twitter to hit back at a furious Rio Ferdinand.

After initially posting: ‘@SeppBlatter your comments on racism are so condescending its almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that ok?’, Ferdinand then added – in reference to a picture of Blatter with FIFA member Tokyo Sexwale: ‘Fifa clear up the blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man..I need the hand covering eyes symbol!!’

On Thursday, Blatter replied: ‘@rioferdy5 The ‘black man’ as you call him has a name: Tokyo Sexwale. He has done tremendous work against racism and apartheid in Africa.

‘We have done several joint activities to raise awareness on the struggle against racism in South Africa. FIFA has a long standing and proud record in the area of anti-discrimination which will continue.’

After Wednesday’s interviews, Blatter tried to repair the damage on his official Twitter page, without much success.



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