Today, Sepp Blatter claims to have learnt his lesson and expressed the view that he could not have expected such a reaction to his comments in regard to racism. He said: ‘”We should distinguish racial remarks from things that are said when players are fighting for a ball.”
He also added that players should shake hands and make up at the end of a game and expressed the view that ‘there is no racism in football’.
The comments are contrary both to FIFA and UEFA rules in regard to racism. If they are represented as the views of FIFA it turns back the clock in regards the fight against racism in sport.
Show Racism the Red Card patrons Rio Ferdinand, Brian Deane and Shaka Hislop have all made comment in response over the last few days and have called for Sepp Blatter to resign.
Co-ordinator for Show Racism the Red Card Ireland Garrett Mullan added: ‘To claim he has learnt his lesson is not a credible excuse for his comments as the follow a pattern. When asked what people who are gay should do when the World Cup is played in Quatar, he said they should hide who they are and should not be intimate.
Football has made great strides in tackling racism. 25 years ago, players like John Barnes and Cyril Regis were routinely subject to monkey chants in grounds across England. People claimed at the time that there was nothing that could be done about it. They were just the fans and if the fans were racists, then what can be done? Football in England has proved it is possible to tackle this difficult issue.
The FAI in Ireland have led the way for other sports to tackle racism by adopting a zero tolerance approach. Players have been fined and banned for racist abuse during games, while supporters have been barred by clubs. UEFA and FIFA are crucial to ensuring national governing bodies in other countries take the issue seriously and ensure no tolerance to racism. In countries such as Ukraine, who co-host the Euro championships and Russia who host the World Cup in 2018, racism continues to be a problem.
Football is a global game and has the power to bring people together. Racism has only the power to divide. If racism is accepted within sport, it will lead to the exclusion of many and it leadership does not come from the top, racism can be allowed fester at the bottom.
Sepp Blatter is not a credible leader for the game. He should resign. We would like to bring attention to an early day motion from Dave Anderson MP who is placing a motion in parliament backing the call for resignation’.
Calling for Sepp Blatter to resign
Shaka Hislop calls for Blatter resignation
MP to table motion calling for Blatter resignation