Monday, November 21, 2011

Blatter Apologises, but Declines to Step Down

Earlier this week, FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, caused a stir in the football world, by intimating that racial abuse on the pitch could be fixed in the same way as a foul or a shove; with a simple handshake. Blatter's comments suggested a naivety – or even an outright ignorance to the effects of racism – that prompted calls for his resignation.

The 'race row' currently boiling in football's cauldron concerns a Premier League match at the end of October, in which Chelsea player, John Terry, is alleged to have levelled a racist slur at QPR defender,Anton Ferdinand. Terry denied the allegations, but he admitted to asking Ferdinand if he thought he had been abused, albeit by using racially-sensitive language. Anyone following the best football betting will have been shocked.

In the ensuing weeks, Sepp Blatter, while claiming that he was committed to expunging racism from football, said that there might be "a word or a gesture" that was offensive to minorities, but that racism as a wider issue did not exist in the sport. "I would deny it. There is no racism."

Blatter, who is well known for his gaffes, including his suggestion that women footballers should wear tighter uniforms, was pilloried in the wake of his comments. England midfielder, David Beckham, said that Blatter's opinions were "appalling", and "not very good" for the game as a whole.

Returning to the present; Blatter has responded to calls for his resignation by refusing to step down.

The 75-year-old said that it would be more appropriate for him to face the problem, rather than offloading it to a successor. "I can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations", Blatter said, noting that he "couldn't envisage" the damage caused by his earlier comments.

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