Neil Warnock, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, yesterday led the chorus of opprobrium towards Sepp Blatter over his comments concerning racism in football, suggesting the only way to oust the Fifa president from his position would be for all black players to refuse to play international football.
"Who is going to sack him? I don't see that anybody is going to sack him," he said. "I think the only way we could get him out is if every black player in every country refused to play in the next international game. Nothing else is going to get him out until he wants to go. He's a clever old man. You can make any apology sound sincere if you want to.
"I don't think he will give two hoots. Not about England. Some other countries put [racism] under the carpet. I look at Spain and it's not as vital or major an issue over there like it is here. I have thought [[he should go] for many years. The way he's fought goal-line technology. We've had men on the moon for I don't know how many years and we can't put two cameras between two goal-posts." Though all of his peers were quick to denounce Blatter's comments, few were quite so prepared as Warnock to vent their frustration with the 75-year-old.
Andre Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, insisted it was "not for me" to say whether Blatter was fit to continue, suggesting it was "humble" of the Swiss to apologise. "If you say sorry because you have made a mistake, first you have to avoid saying those things. We know he made a mistake and did not set a good standard, but he has retracted those words," he said. Sir Alex Ferguson agreed with his Chelsea counterpart, insisting that "Blatter has apologised, and that's fine, that's appropriate," and preferring to concentrate his fire on Gus Poyet, the Brighton manager, who suggested his countryman Luis Suarez should not have been charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra during Manchester United's Premier League game with Liverpool in September. "That was inappropriate at a time when people throughout the world are condemning racism," said Ferguson. Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, did welcome Blatter's zero tolerance approach to anything that can even be interpreted as racial abuse. "If you want to get it out, you have to punish it."