FIFA President Sepp Blatter's
controversial comments that there is no racism in football are
appalling, former England captain David Beckham said on
The 75-year-old Swiss has been condemned for his comments on
Wednesday, where he also said that if such incidents did take
place on the field, the players should settle their differences
with a handshake at the end of the match.
Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Beckham, speaking ahead of his
team's Major League Soccer Cup final against the Houston Dynamo
on Sunday, joined an ever-growing list of high-profile names to
criticise the head of the sport's world governing body.
"I think the comments were appalling," Beckham told a media
conference on Thursday. "I think a lot of people have said that.
I don't think the comments were very good for this game."
Beckham's England team-mate Rio Ferdinand led the criticism
of Blatter on social networking website Twitter with Britain's
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson calling for the Swiss to resign
from the role he has held since 1998.
"I have no power with who goes and who stays within FIFA and
I don't wish to have that but there obviously is and has been
racism throughout football and life over the last few years,"
"It's still there and can't just be swept under the carpet
and can't just be sorted out just by handshake."
Blatter released a statement later on Wednesday saying his
comments had been misunderstood and pledged his commitment to
stamping out racism in the sport over the next three-and-a-half
years of his term.
"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," he said.
"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
"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
Blatter will be a guest of the Asian Football Confederation
for their awards dinner in Malaysia on Wednesday, where he is
due to hold a media conference.
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