Of all the particularly idiotic and detrimental things Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, President of FIFA and duly elected (by a corrupt body) gaping maw of world football could do, this one is…not surprising in the slightest even as it makes us want to fly to Zurich and pee in the man’s oatmeal. There is no racism in football, says Sepp. And if there is, a handshake will make it all better.
Remember: in recent weeks, the football world has been forced to contend with allegations of racism against John Terry, the possible racial language used by Cesc Farbregas towards Frederic Kanoute, and the ongoing row over whatever it was Luis Suarez said to Patrice Evra. Suarez was just charged by the FA today, by the way.
Let’s remember that none of those aforementioned allegations are proven, and that it’s possible they are all bunk. But to deny that racism exists in the game, regardless of whether John Terry called Anton Ferdinand a “black c*&t” or not, is inane and serves no purpose other than to hurt the campaign to stamp it out.
When asked, during an interview on CNN, whether racism exists in the game the Swiss said he believed it had been eradicated from the game.
“I would deny it. There is no racism,” said the Swiss. “There is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one.
“But also the one who is affected by that, he should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.
“I think the whole world is aware of the efforts we are making against racism and discrimination. And on the field of play sometimes you say something that is not very correct, but then at the end of the game, the game is over and you have the next game where you can behave better.”
“There is no racism.” Plotz.
“A word or gesture that is not the correct one.” Bwhat?
Sepp, surely you don’t see vile racist slurs as nothing more than “incorrect words”? “Incorrect words” are “words” like “irregardless” and “disorientated.” “Incorrect words” does not cover racist language.
Also, everything is made better with a handshake. Patrice Evra should just let it go, if Luis Suarez did level some racist abuse at him, because it happened within the confines of the game and apparently things said between the lines don’t count in the real world. The football field is a warm cocoon of a place, where concepts like common human decency and the rights of men not to be discriminated against because of their race, creed, or religion float away like so many petro dollars into so many FIFA ExCo pockets.
Enough with this. We’ll leave it to our man Emmanuel Frimpong to express how so many of use feel about Sepp’s racism-denial today.
Yeah, what he said. Two-footed.
Knowing the firestorm Sepp’s words would cause, someone with FIFA’s PR section immediately took charge of Blatter’s official twitter account and let loose with some serious spinning. Watch you don’t get dizzy and fall into a pit. Actually, do.
The links goes to this page, FIFA’s back-patting timeline documenting ten years of “fighting” racism. Apparently the 2010 World Cup in South Africa wiped all of the discrimination out of football forever and ever. Mandela was there, you know.
Surely FIFA has done some good fighting racism, particularly when it comes to abuse from fans towards players (shift some of those efforts to Russia, in large measure, please. 2018 is not looking like it’s going to be a lovely time). But if the organization had done anything to help stamp out racism on the field, where it also has no place–not now, not ever–than Sepp just wiped it all out in one interview.