November 18, 2011

Sepp Blatter faces clamour to quit over racism row

Fifa president urged to step down after saying footballers suffering abuse on the pitch should 'shake hands' afterwards

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is facing a chorus of criticism as players, managers, politicians and anti-racism campaigners called on him to step down over his suggestion that racist abuse on the pitch could be settled with a handshake.

The sports minister, Hugh Robertson, and the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, urged Blatter to resign after he suggested there was no racism in football and that players subjected to abuse should say "this is a game" and shake hands afterwards. David Cameron backed Robertson's call for Blatter to resign, describing Blatter's claims that racism on the pitch is not a problem as "appalling", adding that there was "no time for complacency" when it came to stamping it out.

Rio Ferdinand launched a scathing attack on the Fifa boss via Twitter. The Manchester United defender said Blatter's comments were "so condescending it's almost laughable", and he criticised the world football governing body for trying to "clear up the Blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man".

Blatter's remarks in interviews with CNN and al-Jazeera this week were particularly incendiary given two high-profile ongoing Football Association inquiries into allegations of racism.

Liverpool's Luis Suárez was charged on Wednesday with racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra. He denies it. England captain John Terry is the subject of an FA investigation and police inquiries into whether he racially abused Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand, Rio's brother. Terry denies the allegations.

Robertson called on Blatter to resign immediately. "This is the latest episode that calls into question whether this man should be the head of world football. For the sake of the game, he should go. We have been consistent in calls for improved governance at Fifa and this underlines the need for that once more. We must never be complacent in our efforts to tackle racism."

Ed Miliband, said: "I think Sepp Blatter's comments are a disgrace, frankly, and I think football needs new leadership. I don't think he has shown in the remarks he has made recently, or indeed his record, that he can provide that leadership for world football."

Blatter, Fifa president since 1998, has made various gaffes and has faced a serious crisis with corruption claims levelled at the organisation amid calls for wholesale reform.

Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of the anti-racist campaign group Kick It Out, said: "To say Sepp Blatter's comments are unhelpful is an understatement. He has no understanding of what racism is, the ideology behind it, the damage it causes and how it subjugates one group of people as inferior."

But with only limited reporting of Blatter's comments in other countries, Fifa insiders said the furore was only likely to feed the president's belief that the British media was out to get him. This belief intensified in the runup to last year's World Cup vote, when Fifa was rocked by corruption claims, and again prior to his re-election in June.



Anonymous said...

Both neo-nazi football groups the EDL and the NWI are calling Blatter a hero for playing down racism in football.

B31 Antifascist said...

'It' never really did get kicked out of football, did it?

1) Joey Barton, whose brother Michael is serving a sentence for a racist murder and is glorified by the English neonazis, attempts to get recruited by Tommy 'Yobinson'.

2) The brother of the manager of the national u21 team, and soon to be coach of the British olympic soccer team is a prominent London BNP activist.

3) A racist dressing room spat between two British Leicester City players, Chris Powell (now Charlton manager) and Wayne Brown, who has expressed his support for Nick Griffin.

4) The appointment of an unashamed admirer of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as manager of Swindon Town, whose players come from many ethnic backgrounds.

5) Lee Smith of Worcester City, failing to know the difference between Remembrance and racial hatred. That team has British Muslim players.

6) John Terry and the ensuing racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand by Chelsea followers.

7) Luis Suares, and Kenny Dalglish backing up his racism.

8) Blatter pretending it doesn't go on, backed up by the English FA, the Premier League, and of course Brian Mawhinney.

Now is the time for mass mobilisation.

John P said...

It's not really fair to include Joey Barton for the crime that his bother committed. Show racism the red card put out an interview with Barton the other day which I thought was really good.

redbush said...

Caxley Lemon calling Blatter a hero for his remarks.

That's no surprise there!

B31 Antifascist said...

JohnP, I was emphasising the fact the EDL went out of their way to 'recruit' Joey Barton because of the actions of his brother Michael, which various EDL sites consider him 'easy prey' for. But yes, his SRTRC interview shows he is not in any way willing to rise to their bait. Its just how the racist EDL think.

It is possible to get 'misguided' into joining the nazi Right and then genuinely repenting. My favourite actor Ricky Tomlinson is a prime example.

B31 Antifascist said...

Remind yourself of that situation when your team score a goal, you've seen the ball pass the goal line and hit the ground, so has the BBC/ITV/Sky cameras, but the goal is disallowed because Blatter won't allow the use of goal line 'Hawkeye' technology in 'his' little football game.

Now, call for his resignation.

Anonymous said...

2) The brother of the manager of the national u21 team, and soon to be coach of the British olympic soccer team is a prominent London BNP activist.

His old team, West Ham United's fanbase are packed full of racist dogs. I think Millwall and WHU have competitons who can be the biggest racist dickheads.

Anonymous said...

does the anti racist cause really want detestable people like beckham and ferdinand bleating on their behalf?

this has nothing to do with racism it is merely sour grapes between the english fa and blatter if anything it is trivialising the matter by having a multi millionaire bitching about it!

Anonymous said...

I wrote to Kick it Out regarding the appointment of an unashamed nazi as manager of Swindon Town, which is multiracial. I expressed my fears that STFC would become a magnet for seigheilers and racists up and down England, and that other clubs nazi elements and EDLers would take great courage from this, and consider it okay to chant racial abuse on the terraces after so much has been done to eradicate it from the game.

Their response. They contacted STFC and they were told that the Wiltshire club keeps its commitment to the initiatives of KIO, and they hope it answers my question.

With passive complacency from those who are charged with 'kicking racism out of football', we are all doomed. KIO needs to put down its Guardian, put its hand on its sack and find its balls when it comes to booting 'it' out once and for all.

B31 Antifascist said...

@Anon, 1.25pm. I too wrote to KIO about the same subject, and got the same response. Absolutely bloody pathetic, would have expected that sort of wooly ambiguity from Boris Johnson, or even bloody Sepp Blatter!!!