Blatter enters, and then fuels, race debate



Race, it seems, is top of the editorial agenda after (insert obligatory ‘alleged’ here) incidents involving Luis Suarez and John Terry in the past month. Each is seemingly a sad indictment of the English game, where racism it appears, still thrives. Suarez, claims Patrice Evra, called the defender a “n*gger” at “least ten times” during Manchester United’s visit to Anfield in September. Meanwhile, Terry was caught on camera calling Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand a “black c*nt”. The only debate is whether Terry’s excuse of context (“No I didn’t call you a…”) is genuine or not. Ferdinand, and his big brother Rio, have been deafening with their silence on the matter.

Disturbing though the incidents are it says much for our lack of progress in combating racism that the clubs and supporters involved have divided largely along partisan lines. To Liverpool’s management, Suarez’ innocence was never in doubt. So much so, that manager Kenny Dalglish has repeatedly called for “the accuser” Evra to face sanction. Meanwhile, Liverpool supporters have engaged in an orchestrated smear campaign against Evra with erroneous ‘evidence’ of the Frenchman repeatedly ‘playing the race card’ distributed liberally by more vocal Scousers.

On Wednesday the FA charged Suarez with using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules.”

Similarly, Chelsea and the club’s supporters have unilaterally backed Terry’s claim of misunderstanding. Indeed, Chelsea fans were audibly chanting anti-Ferdinand slogans as the Londoners met Genk in the Champions League. Would United supporters behave differently if, hypothetically speaking, Wayne Rooney faced a similar charge? It is a question that supporters should honestly ask and answer.

In fact the controversies of recent weeks have unveiled the shroud of denial about racism in the game. One need only peruse popular social media sites to discover a tsunami of bigotry among match-going fans. Ferdinand was subjected to the worse kind of racist abuse on his own account, from the very supporters defending Terry.

No wonder, with denial coming from the very top: Sepp Blatter, who claimed in an interview with CNN that racism does not exist in football.

“I would deny it. There is no racism,” Blatter told the news station.

“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, and this can happen’, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.

“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 at the end of the game, the game is over and you have the next game where you can behave better.”

Blatter apes the views of more than one prominent pundit, with racist language justified on the basis of ‘banter’ or ‘high emotions’. It says much for the neanderthal element still present in our game. Indeed, the Daily Mail ran a bigoted ‘opinion’ editorial urging black players to “just ignore it” when subjected to racism and be “thankful” for the apparent progress made.

True, gone are the universal ‘monkey chanting’ and banana throwing of 1980s crowds. Racism has gone underground. Yet, surely, race should not be a matter for partisan support. Offence, if the accusations against Suarez and Terry are true, should be universal. That it is not says something for the road football has travelled, but more for the distance yet to go.

There is also a devastating charge of complacency to be levelled against the football community and, perhaps, the Football Association too. Certainly, the governing body’s dithering over both cases does not reflect well on the FA. That a number of prominent black players genuinely considered boycotting the Kick It Out campaign because of the perceived FA governance of the body (it is part financed but not governed by the FA) says much for the frustration felt within the game.

After all, racism is institutionalised in football, with so few administrators and coaches coming from the ethnic minorities, despite black players making up around 25 per cent of professionals in England. Fans of all colours should be ashamed of this.

Perhaps failure to eliminate racism in England is the result of a top top-down culture that embraces discrimination at its very core? After all women and homosexuals also face an institutionalised glass ceiling, and administrators not willing to work hard enough to eliminate discrimination. It is an industry that celebrates the macho and aggressive, and one wonders whether the football community – fans, players, administrators – will ever accept a player for what he is, and not his sexual orientation, background or race. Recent events have brought this into question.

More than 30 years since Justin Fashanu – the first gay professional to come out – was driven to his suicide football has seemingly achieved little. There is little serious attempt to do so from within the game, save for an FA sponsored video last year. That the governing body was unable to attract leading footballers to take part in the video paints just as vivid a picture. Gordon Taylor, president of the Professional Footballers Association, admitted last year that tackling homophobia is simply “not very high on the agenda,” while homophobic language is endemic throughout the football community.

The community’s reaction to the latest turn of events suggests that there is some way to go when it comes to racial equality too. While a presumption of innocence is enshrined in our legal system, there is little reason to believe that Evra is lying – the FA charge suggests the body believes his account too – or that Ferdinand uncertain about what he did (or apparently did not) say to Terry.

The FA is likely to set a very high bar for proof, keen as the body is to avoid all controversy. It takes genuine strength of will an authority to sit in judgement; something the governing body has long since lost. But now, more than ever, is the time for the body to truly govern our game.

Share Button

Comments

  1. Said it before, but we really need a coup d’etat at Fifa

  2. FIFA and more so the FA at all levels from county to national are nothing more than self serving boys clubs.

  3. blatter should fuck off and retire and take his rightful place as the dungeon master the hypocritical piece of shit

  4. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    If he keeps his job after all this then football is well and truly fucked

  5. Fifa respond to the backlash by putting a picture on their website of the old bastard hugging a black bloke – haha

    http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/president/news/newsid=1544067/index.html

    Look, he has lots of black friends – so how can he be racist

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Football/Pix/pictures/2011/7/5/1309874315792/Sepp-Blatter-and-Robert-M-007.jpg

  6. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    I like how he stirs the pot

  7. TheCANTONA says:

    TBH, If Wazza was being charges with racial abuse, I will shut my mouth up, wont make a camp of defending him, and wait until the case became clear.
    Oh, Blatter was a tool then, & moron now…

  8. It strikes me odd that people, including Sepp Blatter, man appointed to the post by Addidas, should deny the presence of racism in the game. It’s clearly there because white people are white people (and truth be told, white British people, like me, were resp[onsible for much of the history of racism because of our parents’ parents’ parents’attitude of colonial superiority) White football supporters tend to be a worst case scenario. Homophobia is even more rampant — and all of this amounts to uncertainty about one’s own personal autonomy and sexual identiy. There’s a huge amount of psychological identification and projection involved in football, thus United fans on this site characterised the 1-6 home defeat by City as a form of homosexual rape (of `us’ : we and therfore I = Manchester United). I suspect that we united fans are not so bad — because most of us — except perhaps the neanderthal arseholes who are always a major embarrassment to us — because we have had a legion of black players at the club, some of whom have been our greatest and most loved players (Andrew Cole doesn’t fall into that category but I have always had a soft spot for him and relished it when he scored — and hated it when he shot for goal in the 1996 Cup Final and hit the corner flag). Of course some of nthese neanderthals have actually made a career in the game: the most obvious example that springs to mind would, naturally, be that of John Terry.

    But to my prejudice point: the guys on here who act as though they know everything and slag off anyone who says anything to the contrary with the crudest kind of insults: well I cannot — having fought for liberation here in South Africa and being married to a black woman — that you are the equivalent of the white South African racist yobs the end of apartheid did not entirely deliver us from.

    United fan or not, if that cap fits then wear it.

  9. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    TBH, If Wazza was being charges with racial abuse, I will shut my mouth up, wont make a camp of defending him, and wait until the case became clear.
    Oh, Blatter was a tool then, & moron now…

    Babel Fish has failed you badly.

  10. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    It strikes me odd that people, including Sepp Blatter, man appointed to the post by Addidas, should deny the presence of racism in the game. It’s clearly there because white people are white people (and truth be told, white British people, like me, were resp[onsible for much of the history of racism because of our parents’ parents’ parents’attitude of colonial superiority) White football supporters tend to be a worst case scenario. Homophobia is even more rampant — and all of this amounts to uncertainty about one’s own personal autonomy and sexual identiy. There’s a huge amount of psychological identification and projection involved in football, thus United fans on this site characterised the 1-6 home defeat by City as a form of homosexual rape (of `us’ : we and therfore I = Manchester United). I suspect that we united fans are not so bad — because most of us — except perhaps the neanderthal arseholes who are always a major embarrassment to us — because we have had a legion of black players at the club, some of whom have been our greatest and most loved players (Andrew Cole doesn’t fall into that category but I have always had a soft spot for him and relished it when he scored — and hated it when he shot for goal in the 1996 Cup Final and hit the corner flag). Of course some of nthese neanderthals have actually made a career in the game: the most obvious example that springs to mind would, naturally, be that of John Terry.

    But to my prejudice point: the guys on here who act as though they know everything and slag off anyone who says anything to the contrary with the crudest kind of insults: well I cannot — having fought for liberation here in South Africa and being married to a black woman — that you are the equivalent of the white South African racist yobs the end of apartheid did not entirely deliver us from.

    United fan or not, if that cap fits then wear it.

    You should have used Babel Fish.

  11. publicity stunt – blatter knows what he’s doing – he’s tired of messi getting all the praise in football. he’s just being a dick for the sake of it – and rio with his shithouse tweets all of a sudden giving it the massive. now PFA boss calling for resignation – ffs, everyone trying to get some political mileage from this.

    of course what he said is incorrect but thick cunts like Rio giving it massive all of a sudden just to promote himself, his records, clothes, image, record deal, next year’s strictly come dancing entry. cynical I know.

  12. anyone remember remi moses?
    i do
    and also the faint chants of monkey sounds emanating from certain sections of OT in his 1st season when he joined with robbo from wba
    so, united fans are not immune from criticism either except so far as to say, OT was never as vile as stamford bridge, upton park, anfield and ellend road when black players joined those respective clubs

  13. chocolatteballs says:

    Couldn’t make him up.

    This guy hasn’t lived in the real world for 13 years now and since that time he’s apparently still looking into goal line technology . Whatever way ya look at it thats quite a salary for looking into a problem like that for 13 years .

    His finest hour was suggesting women wear tighter clothes to attract more attention for women’s football lol.

    knobby for president.

  14. This is getting interesting
    Managers, players, MPs and Mick McCarthy have all called for Blatter to stand down
    Normally when Blatter talks shit we get the usual ‘what’s that old prick been on about now’, and its forgotten about, but this feels different
    You never know

  15. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Most of the criticism comes from England… the continent doesn’t much care, or want to get involved.
    Blatter will just draw his cronies round, stroke a few egos, get a few photos taken with his African “brethren”, and then spout the tired old crap about Imperial England trying to throw it’s weight around. And the majority of the FIFA heads will agree with him.
    Nothing will happen.
    Blatter isn’t the problem… he’s just the face, the spokesman, of an entire organization, that is just as out of touch, morally retarded, and quite simply… daft… as he is.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  16. I have to tell you guys what really gets my goat in this whole thing: Kenny Dalglish. The man has gone right through the floor in my estimation. There is defending your player and club and there is this. Why has the fool not kept quiet all through as Sir Alex has done and wait for the FA to conclude investigation and even until the charges are done with? Why is he so strident in his defence of his player? Is he trying to cover something?

    I have no doubt in my mind and I had from the first time Evra made that accusation that Suarez would have said it. However, I have been so willing to be proven wrong but now am so mad and I hope the little fool gets the book thrown at him when found guilty.

    On the rest of Europe not giving a rat’s behind; people, nothing new there. The racism in the rest of Europe needs to be experienced to be believed. Incredible as it might sound I can only think of a few countries where they are a bit in touch with reality and have moved on: Germany, Holland, Belgium and Portugal. The Spaniards are so bad and that is why I never support any Spanish sporting side or individual! Argentina is on record to have exterminated their black population deliberately. Can’t ever wish them good.

  17. Spot on Cal save for the issue that Dalglish has always been a cunt when it comes to anything to do with United; racism is still pretty alive i’m sad to say both on and off the pitch and for that idiot to defend his player just shows he hasn’t been in the real world and is out of touch
    btw – i do remember an incident involving Schmichel & wright some time ago which was pretty nasty too …

  18. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    dalglish doesn’t like black players or benders, hence why he only has johnson in his squad and he got rid of torres

  19. Calvino said:
    I have to tell you guys what really gets my goat in this whole thing: Kenny Dalglish. The man has gone right through the floor in my estimation. There is defending your player and club and there is this. Why has the fool not kept quiet all through as Sir Alex has done and wait for the FA to conclude investigation and even until the charges are done with? Why is he so strident in his defence of his player? Is he trying to cover something?

    What annoys me about Dalglish is how he is the golden boy of Premier League managers. “King Kenny” who has such a glorious playing career and could do no wrong. Dalglish’s point is that if Evra was lying about the racism accusations or it cannot be proven that Suarez was racist, Suarez is still the loser because he is still tainted by association with the alleged offence.
    This sort of logic is ridiculous. In other words, no player who is racially abused should speak up unless it can be proven without doubt that he was telling the truth (i.e- the abuse was captured on camera, the ref witnessed it).
    It’s worrying that those in the game who should know better clearly don’t.
    As for Dalglish, he is a managerial bottler.

  20. Fucking dirty rat-faced Scouse cunt (Suarez, that is). Poyet’s a cunt as well.

Speak Your Mind

*