Sport

FIFA’s Blatter Clarifies Racist Remarks

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Blatter appeared to suggest on Wednesday that racial discrimination could be settled with a handshake.

He has since told Fox: “I’m not saying about discrimination but foul language, approved http://comarsa.com.pe/components/com_k2/sef_ext/com_k2.php foul play. If you have foul play [when] the match is over you shake hands.

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However, Rio Ferdinand believes Blatter’s comments on racism show the 75-year-old’s ignorance about the issue.

The England defender and Blatter have been involved in a row on Twitter after the Swiss’s claim that football does not have on-field problems with racism.

Ferdinand, 33, tweeted again on Thursday, writing: “What you said about racism in football spoke volumes of your ignorance.

“If we want 2 (sic) stamp out racism in society a football pitch is a good place to start – loved by billions.”

Blatter’s comments, made in two television interviews on Wednesday, have attracted widespread condemnation in England, although reaction across continental Europe has been reasonably muted.

The Swiss told CNN: “There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct.

“The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.”

Fifpro, the world players’ union, called Blatter’s comments “rather clumsy”.

“There is a bottom line which should not be crossed. There are things that you cannot just solve by shaking hands after the end of the match, as Mr Blatter suggests,” read a Fifpro statement on Thursday.

“Unfortunately racism remains a huge problem in football, both on the pitch and in the stadiums. Fifpro is well aware of this and so is Mr Blatter.”

Numerous British players, managers, administrators and politicians have called for Blatter to resign.

Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Blatter’s comments, saying in a statement: “It’s appalling to suggest that racism in any way should be accepted as part of the game.

“A lot of work has gone into ridding racism from all aspects of our society, including football. As many of our top sports stars have rightly pointed out, now is not the time for complacency.”

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton, who is one of only two black managers, along with Charlton’s Chris Powell, among the 92 clubs that make up the English Football League, also expressed concern.

“The massive concern is that one person who heads the world’s governing body firstly is allowed to make the comments that he made and secondly has made the comments that he’s made,” said Hughton, who was appointed to the management committee of the League Managers’ Association on Thursday.

“For the top person in world football to make the comments that he has done is totally unacceptable.

“You have the head of our [world governing] organisation who has probably had to make apologies on four, five or six occasions.

“Of course, he almost seems untouchable. So I think that is a big concern for me, that someone in such a massively important position is able to [make such comments] and with almost no recourse.”

A spokesman for the English Football Association said: “The FA and all of English football are united behind the belief that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination.

“We are committed to inclusivity and all forms of discrimination should be reported.”

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