Sepp Blatter, Fifa's president, made the extraordinary claim yesterday that a handshake should be enough to settle any incident of racist abuse on a football pitch – but that there is no racism in the sport he oversees.
Little more than an hour before the Football Association announced that Luis Suarez was being charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra during a match between Liverpool and Manchester United last month, Blatter gave an interview to CNN in which he was asked whether he thought there was any racism on the pitch.
Blatter (below) said: "I would deny it. There is no racism, 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.
"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 the game is over and you have the next game where you can behave better."
Blatter's comments brought an angry, and bemused, reaction from Rio Ferdinand. Ferdinand tweeted to Blatter: "Your comments on racism are so condescending its almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that ok?"Reuse content