Criticism mounts on Blatter
The storm surrounding FIFA president Sepp Blatter continued after his leadership was questioned in the wake of his comments on racism.
Last Updated: 17/11/11 8:14am
The storm surrounding FIFA president Sepp Blatter continued after his leadership was questioned in the wake of his attempt to clarify comments that racist abuse between players on the pitch should be settled by a handshake.
The 75-year-old made the claim in two separate television interviews on Wednesday afternoon to provoke an angry response from around the football world.
While Blatter later claimed he had been misunderstood, his comments provided another chapter in a controversial reign as the head of FIFA.
Former England captain Rio Ferdinand was outspoken, describing the comments as "astonishing" on his twitter page.
Anti-racism group Kick It Out quickly condemned Blatter's words and claimed they revealed a concerning lack of leadership.
"These comments are worryingly out of touch," a statement read.
"Shaking hands to compensate for a racial slur is not what the game has signed up to, and trivialises the work of campaigns like Kick It Out, which has been in the vanguard of rooting out discrimination and unacceptable behaviour in our game for the best part of two decades.
"But leadership is needed to make headway. And comments like this don't help in the ultimate goal of kicking racism out of football and making it a discrimination free zone."
During his online rant, Manchester United defender Ferdinand contacted Blatter's twitter page directly, writing: "@SeppBlatter your comments on racism are so condescending it's almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that OK?"
He also wrote: "Tell me I have just read Sepp Blatter's comments on racism in football wrong... if not then I am astonished.
"I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism.....it seems it was just on mute for a while."
Blatter's comments came on the same day that the English Football Association charged Liverpool forward Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
A racism investigation is also ongoing against England captain John Terry, allegations he strenuously denies, to further undermine Blatter's assertions.
"It's ironic that Sepp Blatter should come out and talk like that because we've worked hard to get FIFA to have anti-racism on the agenda," said PFA chief Gordon Taylor. "It's very insensitive and inappropriate at this time.
"When as the president of FIFA he's got to be shouting from the top of the hills that it's unacceptable on the pitch."