The Man We All Love To Hate – Will He Quit?
Following another controversial few weeks for FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, its seems he won’t be leaving his role anytime soon.
FIFA President, Sepp Blatter has declared the furore surrounding his recent remarks on racism over while attending the Asian Football Confederation annual awards this week.
No stranger to controversy, Blatter had earlier claimed “There is no racism in football” and that racist abuse between players should be solved with a handshake and forgotten at the end of the game. He has now moved to draw a line under the issue and said:
“I can only say this item for me is closed. There is no tolerance of racism.”
His latest remarks came as the FA investigate two cases of alleged racism between Premier League players. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez towards Man Utd’s Patrice Evra, and Chelsea’s John Terry towards QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. Blatter previously caused a storm by saying homosexual fans should “Refrain from sexual activities” at the 2022 Qatar World Cup and that women’s football could increase its appeal by introducing “Tighter shorts”.
England’s authorities were quick to condemn FIFA’s President and football’s anti-racism body ‘Kick it Out’ said:
“These comments are worryingly out of touch. Shaking hands to compensate for a racial slur is not what the game has signed up to.”
Players’ Football Association Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor said in a recent interview to SkyNews:
“It’s embarrassing – if one person should get it about racism it is the head of FIFA.” He added: “It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s time to move over for Platini”.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand addressed Blatter directly via Twitter, blasting: “To say what you said about racism spoke volumes of your ignorance to the subject.”
However, it appears the majority of the football world see this as the English “Bad losers” (As Mr. Blatter previously referred to them) making a mountain out of a mole hill. Blatter has since come out to apologise for what he termed a “Misunderstanding” and said to BBC:
“When you have done something which was not totally correct, I can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations.”
Will he go?
It appears Blatter will not be shaken from his position before he chooses. Unfortunately, the only people able to rock the foundations of his power are the very people who voted him in as President – FIFA itself.
Despite Blatter’s long line of sensitive gaffes, allegations of corruption within FIFA and his opposition to more technology in football to help referees, it is apparent that he won’t be dislodged by them any time soon. In line with the old adage – “You don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.
It seems that Blatter will only be shifted when enough pressure is put on FIFA members by the organisation’s sponsors. If the organisation saw that his presence jeopardised lucrative deals with worldwide companies, they would most likely be forced into action.
Unfortunately for his critics, it appears more likely that he will bow out at the time of his choosing with partners including Coca-Cola, Visa and Sony vowing to fight discrimination but refusing to condemn the FIFA President’s remarks.
The Silver Lining
The only hope is that Sepp Blatter’s continued trend of controversial remarks accidentally provide much needed exposure for causes which need advancing within world football. Chair of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, Chris Basiurski echoed this sentiment stating
“His ridiculous comments are no surprise but in a way it’s better than someone who is actively hostile”.
Despite no assurances of how the 2022 World Cup will be made safe for homosexuals, Mr Basiurski said
“Although he has exposed himself to ridicule, his comments inadvertently advanced the battle against homophobia in football by bringing it to the fore. Hopefully, this will do the same with his comments on racism.”
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