Thursday, 17 November 2011

Time to split from Sepp

The comments by FIFA President Sepp Blatter that footballers who are racially abused by opponents in "the heat of the game" should accept a handshake from them at the final whistle and forget about it were totally predictable given his track record on such questions.

English football has thankfully largely moved away from such attitudes as a result of campaigns against racism by players and fans and a decline in racism in wider society since the 1970's.  The same cannot be said of Italy, Spain and Russia where racist abuse is routinely directed at black players, something which FIFA unsurprisingly turns a blind eye to.

Rio Ferdinand in lambasting Blatter on Twitter made a good point: if it's acceptable for players to racially abuse opponents "in the heat of the game", why isn't it OK for fans to do so as well?

Given the massive corruption that runs through the internal politics of FIFA, an attempt to reform it from within seems doomed.  The best thing would be for England and other countries to withdraw from FIFA and set up a new international football federation with its own World Cup.

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