MPs back Blatter resignation calls

 

Fifa president Sepp Blatter came under fire in Westminster today as he was condemned for his remarks about racism in football.

Mr Blatter is facing calls for his resignation after claiming that racism on the pitch is not a problem and that racist abuse between players should be settled by a handshake.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson led calls for Mr Blatter to resign, saying: "This is incredibly serious but it is part of a pattern of behaviour."

Asked whether Mr Blatter should go, he told BBC Radio Five Live: "Yes. I can't see there's anything terribly new in this. We've been saying this for some time."

Labour leader Ed Miliband also weighed into the row, branding Mr Blatter's comments a "disgrace" and saying that world football needed new leadership.

"I think Sepp Blatter's comments are a disgrace frankly and I think that football needs new leadership," Mr Miliband said.

"I don't think he has shown in the remarks he has made recently, or indeed his record, that he can provide that leadership for world football."

Mr Blatter was embroiled today in a Twitter war-of-words with Rio Ferdinand.

The Manchester United defender contacted Blatter's Twitter account directly, writing: "Sepp Blatter your comments on racism are so condescending its almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that ok?"

The England player also criticised FIFA's attempts to clarify Blatter's comments with a statement on their website underneath a picture of Blatter with South African minister Tokyo Sexwale, who was imprisoned on Robben Island during the apartheid era.

Ferdinand wrote: "Fifa clear up the blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man..I need the hand covering eyes symbol!!"

Blatter was stung into a response today and replied directly to Ferdinand saying: "The 'black man' as you call him has a name: Tokyo Sexwale. He has done tremendous work against racism and apartheid in Africa.

"We have done several joint activities to raise awareness on the struggle against racism in South Africa. FIFA has a long standing and proud record in the area of anti-discrimination which will continue."

Labour's Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said he was "appalled" by Mr Blatter's comments.

He added: "We cannot have as the head of the body governing world football a man who believes that racism is acceptable if followed by a handshake.

"I fully support Rio Ferdinand speaking out against his views, and encourage others both within the game and outside it to do the same.

"Mr Blatter should resign and make way for someone who understands these issues."

Lord Ouseley, chairman of football's Kick It Out anti-racism campaign, said Mr Blatter's comments show that he does not know what he is talking about.

Lord Ouseley said: "He has no understanding of what racism is, the ideology behind it, the damage it causes and how it subjugates one group of people as inferior.

"Enlightened leadership at this level is needed.

"Minor matters on the field often can be resolved with a handshake. Racism is not a minor matter.

"Kick It Out has no truck with the notion that racism can be dismissed and trivialised in this way."

Lord Ouseley noted: "To say Sepp Blatter's comments are unhelpful is an understatement. They're disbelieving."

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "It's appalling to suggest that racism in any way should be accepted as part of the game.

"A lot of work has gone into ridding racism from all aspects of our society, including football.

"As many of our top sports stars have rightly pointed out, now is not the time for complacency."

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before