Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Sepp Blatter "Deeply Regrets" Suggesting That Racism In Soccer Can Be Settled By Handshakes

Last week, for the 739th time, there were calls for Sepp Blatter's resignation following a fresh round of insensitive remarks from the FIFA president. In two separate television interviews, Blatter denied that there was any racism in soccer and then suggested that players settle their differences with a handshake.


From the Guardian:

Asked if racism was a problem on the pitch, Blatter told CNN World Sport: "I would deny it. 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, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination."

He also said, on Al Jazeera: "During a match you may say something to someone who's not looking exactly like you, but at end of match it's forgotten."

Blatter said today that he is "sorry" and regrets "that my statements earlier this week have resulted in an unfortunate situation." He also reminded everyone that he is "committed to the fight against racism, have no doubt about that. And I want to make it very clear: I will not stop until we have stamped racism out of football."

He has not yet offered an alternative to the handshake plan, however.

After he made the remarks last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron said it was "appalling to suggest that racism in any way should be accepted as part of the game," and Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that Blatter should step down "for the sake of the game."

Blatter says he has no plans to resign.

Meanwhile in England, the investigation into the allegations that Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Chelsea's John Terry racially abused black opponents during Premiere League matches continues.


Fifa's Sepp Blatter: settle race rows with handshakes [Guardian]
Fifa president Sepp Blatter apologises for comments on racism [Guardian]