Current Magazine

Sepp Blatter Racism Row: Should He Resign?

Posted on the 17 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Sepp Blatter racism row: Should he resign?

Sepp Blatter, pictured here with Pele. Photocredit: World Economic Forum

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, claims that “there is no racism” in football. His comments, made in an interview with CNN, and similar comments in an Al Jazeera interview, have aroused ire and incredulity. The beautiful game has been beset with racism rows recently – footage emerged recently of England captain John Terry apparently calling Anton Ferdinand a “black c***”, whilst Luis Suárez, of Liverpool, has been charged with racism by the FA, after Patrick Evra of Manchester United made a complaint against him.

Blatter was asked whether he thought players still made racist comments. He suggested that players called by racist names should dismiss the incidents, and remember that after all “it’s just a game.”  He claims his comments were misunderstood, and what he meant was that people on the pitch often say things in the heat of the moment and then make up afterwards. But commentators are outraged.

“I think the whole world is aware of the efforts we are making against racism and discrimination. And, on the field of play sometimes you say something that is not very correct, but then at the end of the game, the game is over and you have the next game where you can behave better,” said Sepp Blatter in the CNN interview, quoted on The Daily Telegraph.

Racism unacceptable. This is outrageous, blustered Ged Grebby, a founder of Show Racism the Red Card: “Racism cannot be justified.” Football is watched by millions, and footballers should not have “carte blanche” in abusing each other by implying that it’s “negative” to be from a particular background. Such comments provoke copy-cat behavior. “The message needs to remain loud and clear that racism is never acceptable.” It’s certainly one of Blatter’s “worst gaffes”, said James Pearce, the BBC sports correspondent.

Squaring up to Blatter. Meanwhile former England captain Rio Ferdinand has been involved in a Twitter battle with Sepp Blatter. Ferdinand expressed his outrage, saying, “Tell me I have just read Blatter’s comments wrong,” and adding that simply posting a picture of Blatter with a black man on the FIFA website hardly cleared the matter up; Blatter responded by drawing attention to the role of said black man, Tokyo Sexwale, a South African government minister and former Robben Island prisoner  who has worked tirelessly against racism and apartheid in Africa.

Archaic and out of touch. Loads of former Premier League players, such as Stan Collymore and Robbie Savage called on Blatter to resign. Another, Mark Bright, said Blatter’s views were “archaic and out of touch.” Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ association, has also thrown his hat into the ring and called for Blatter to step down.

March of the PC brigade. It’s the right punishment, said Rod Liddle on his Spectator blog, but for the wrong reasons. Blatter is “corrupt”, and presides over an “even more corrupt cabal of delegates.” But it’s not that which will see him fall – it’s these admittedly “stupid” comments, which are a “transgression of the PC code” that says “nothing … trumps racism as a crime,” with Blatter’s views regarded as “those of an out of touch elderly person from Switzerland.” It’s silly that he’s being rounded on only for this.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog