Sepp Blatter defends handshake comments

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has defended himself after stating that racist comments in football could be forgotten if the players in question shook hands, and reiterated his desire to rid the game of racism.

The comments came during a dark month in English football, where a number of instances of racist remarks aimed at Premier League footballers have occurred.

However Blatter feels that his comments were taken out of context, and has tried to explain himself.

“I would like to make it very clear, I am committed to the fight against racism and any type of discrimination in football and in society,” a statement on Fifa’s official website reads.

“I have been personally leading this battle against racism in football, which FIFA has been fighting against throughout the past years through campaigns in all of our competitions such as the ‘Say no to racism’ campaign.

“I also know that racism unfortunately continues to exist in football, and I have never denied this. I know that it is a big problem in society, and that it also affects sport.

“I strongly believe that we should continue to fight all together against racism on and off the field of play, in order to eradicate this plague.

“My comments have been misunderstood. What I wanted to express is that, as football players, during a match, you have ‘battles’ with your opponents, and sometimes things are done which are wrong. But, normally, at the end of the match, you apologise to your opponent if you had a confrontation during the match, you shake hands, and when the game is over, it is over.

“Anyone who has played a football match, or a match in any sport, knows that this is the case.

“Having said that, I want to stress again that I do not want to diminish the dimension of the problem of racism in society and in sport.

“I am committed to fighting this plague and kicking it out of football,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight