PFA chief and Rio Ferdinand round on Sepp Blatter over racism comments

By Jessica Cree

Players’ union chief Gordon Taylor called for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down this morning following his ‘out-of-tune’ solutions to racism.

Blatter said yesterday that on-the-field racist remarks could be solved with a simple handshake.

But Mr Taylor, chairman of the PFA, told the BBC that the FIFA boss’ controversial approach to combating racism was “totally out-of-tune” with what was happening in football and said that he should resign.

He said: “We want the field of play to be able to set an example to the rest of the world because that’s the good thing about football and sport.

“I really think it is time to move over – I don’t know how the world of football can be anything but embarrassed.”

Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand – whose brother Anton is embroiled in a race row with Chelsea and England skipper John Terry – also hit out at Blatter’s comment.

In a statement, Mr Blatter said that he was committed to the fight against racism and added on Twitter that discrimination of any kind has no place in football.

“My comments have been misunderstood,” he said.

“What I wanted to express is that, as football players, during a match, you have “battles” with your opponents, and sometimes things are done which are wrong.

“But, normally, at the end of the match, you apologise to your opponent if you had a confrontation during the match, you shake hands, and when the game is over, it is over. 

“I have been personally leading this battle against racism in football, which FIFA has been fighting against throughout the past years,” he said.

“I also know that racism unfortunately continues to exist in football, and I have never denied this.

United defender Ferdinand said on Twitter that Mr Blatter was “too out-of-touch” to know about what was going on on the field.

“I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism.

“It seems it was just on mute for a while.

 “Sepp Blatter’s comments on racism are so condescending it’s almost laughable.”

Several other players have also hit out at the comments on Twitter – ex-Blackburn player Robbie Savage also called for Mr Blatter’s resignation and Jason Roberts, current Blackburn striker, said he was “astonished” by the comments.

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