Footballers and journalists have reacted to Sepp Blatter's comments on racism
FIFA president told CNN players who are abused should shake hands and move on
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand has condemned Blatter's remarks
CNN's Piers Morgan called Blatter's comments "utterly outrageous"
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told CNN Wednesday that on-field racism was not a problem in football, remarks which caused a stir on the social-networking site Twitter.
Later he used his official @SeppBlatter account to reaffirm the commitment global football’s governing body has to stamping out racism and discrimination within soccer.
“Racism and discrimination of any kind have no place in football. I have said this many times before, and I will say it again and again,” tweeted the 75-year-old.
“However – and it is not an excuse – sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things are said and done on the field of play which are wrong.”
But Blatter also stated that he does not believe player-to-player racial abuse is prevalent in football, saying the game is often a unifying force.
“This does not mean that, in general, there is racism on the field of play. Football unites people more than it divides them.”
Chelsea and England captain John Terry is currently the subject of an investigation by London’s Metropolitan Police into alleged racial abuse of Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.
Manchester United and England star Rio Ferdinand is the brother of Anton and he took to Twitter to express his disbelief at Blatter’s comments.
“Tell me I have just read Sepp Blatter’s comments on racism in football wrong….if not then I am astonished,” said Ferdinand.
“I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism…..it seems it was just on mute for a while.”
Ferdinand then addressed a question directly to Blatter, saying: “@SeppBlatter your comments on racism are so condescending its almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that ok?”
Piers Morgan, host of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, condemned Blatter’s remarks as “utterly outrageous”.
He wrote: “Sepp Blatter just gave every racist in football a license to abuse. Even by his standards this is utterly outrageous.”
The ‘Kick It Out’ group, who campaign to banish racism from football in England and Europe said in a statement: “These comments are worryingly out of touch.
“Shaking hands to compensate for a racial slur is not what the game has signed up to, and trivializes the work of campaigns like Kick It Out, which has been in the vanguard of rooting out discrimination and unacceptable behavior in our game for the best part of two decades.”
Former England and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore called on Blatter to end his 13-year reign at the top of global football.
“Mr Blatter, your comments about racism are ill-thought and condescending in the extreme. You should resign,” Collymore tweeted.
Jermaine Jenas is an England international currently on-loan at Aston Villa from Tottenham Hotspur. The midfielder called Blatter’s comments “ridiculous”.
“How can the head of the footballing world be so ignorant towards racism! Sepp Blatter’s quotes are ridiculous. #educateyourself.”
Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl was baffled by Blatter’s remarks, echoing the calls for the FIFA chief to step down.
Raphael Honigstein is a journalist and European football expert who also joined the growing call for Blatter to quit.
“Blatter has really lost it. Go now, Sepp.” he said.