Handshake would suffice for racist abuse: FIFA President

FIFA President Blatter’s remarks spark outrage.


Afp November 17, 2011

PARIS: Fifa President Sepp Blatter plunged himself into controversy when he told CNN that players who suffer racial abuse should simply shake hands with their abuser.

The Swiss added he did not believe that racism was prevalent within football.

“There’s no racism, but maybe there’s a word or gesture which isn’t the correct one,” he said. “The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.”

His claims came on the back of a Football Association (FA) and police investigation into whether England captain John Terry racially abused Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. In addition, the FA has announced that it has charged Liverpool’s Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.

Blatter, however, insisted that there was no need for investigations into claims by the likes of Evra and Ferdinand. Blatter’s comments provoked outrage from several quarters.

“I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism – it seems it was just on mute,” said former England captain Rio Ferdinand.

Blatter later issued a statement clarifying his remarks.

“What I wanted to express is that, during a match, you have ‘battles’ with your opponents, and sometimes things are done which are wrong. At the end, you apologise if you had a confrontation, you shake hands, and when the game is over, it’s over. I don’t want to diminish the dimension of the racism problem.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th,  2011.

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