Around this time last year many of us were dreaming of football coming home in 2018, only to see our hopes dashed by a flawed voting system which means not only will Russia be hosting that World Cup, but four years later the FIFA circus will be heading to Qatar. While I wouldn’t dream of using the ‘c’ word (corruption, if you’re wondering), there clearly isn’t something right about the way Sepp Blatter and his cronies do business.
The latest scandal to engulf Blatter came after his comments on Wednesday, when he stated that if one player racially abused another, a simple handshake at the end of the game would suffice as apology. After all the hard work that has been done by the sport to eradicate racism worldwide, Blatter has be-musingly undermined it all. Many had hoped racism in football had been left behind in the 20th century but now in 2011, it is once again at the forefront of the media. The recent scandals involving John Terry and Suarez have once again printed a mark of shame on the game.
Two days later Blatter apologized for his comments but many saw this as too little, too late. His apology was made all the moronic as attached to the article was a picture of him embracing Tokyo Sexwale, a black African politician. He could have only further undermined the situation if he’d worn a t-shirt saying ‘some of my best friends are black’ in a later TV apology the FIFA president made following his remarks. He has rejected calls to resign as vows to continue his presidency, which he was only re-elected for back in June this year. The problem is no one seems to challenge his supremacy. The only other candidate for the presidency earlier this year, Mohammed bin Hammam who was so crooked he made Tony Soprano look like Mother Theresa. The future for FIFA looks bleak, his apparent heir – current UEFA president Michel Platini – is yet another unpopular character. Like Blatter, he is against technology in football and is quite impartial to an ill-thought quote himself.
It’s hard to believe Blatter is still in the job. Unless FIFA’s major sponsors, individual nation’s football associations and perhaps even players unite, he’ll continue to make a mockery of the ‘beautiful game’. If FIFA was a sovereign nation, people would be rioting in its streets, but instead they quietly let it be and hope it’ll go away.
Ultimately whether Blatter himself is a racist or not is a matter of interpretation. Certainly, his comments are unacceptable, and his subsequent apology is a disgraceful attempt to dig him out of a hole deeper than Manchester City’s chairman’s pockets. It seems in reality we can never completely rid football of racism, even as I write this post Norwich City striker James Vaughan is being subject to racist abuse on Twitter. But what’s important to remember is while Blatter is a clueless buffoon, at least the common football fan is prepared to rise up against the vile individuals who dish out disgusting racial abuse.