Players who are racially insulted during matches should accept it as part of on-field provocation and shake hands with their opponent at the end, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday.
“Maybe one of the players has a word, a gesture, towards the other which is not the correct one,” Blatter told CNN in an interview.
“But the one who is affected by that, he should say, it's a game, we are in a game, and at the end of the game we should shake hands,” said Blatter who made similar comments in a separate interview with Al Jazeera. “On the field of play, sometimes you say something which is not very correct,” he added. “At the end of the game, it is over and you have the next game where you can behave better.”
Blatter's comments drew an angry reaction from Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand. “I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism,” Ferdinand said on Twitter.
FIFA later issued a statement from Blatter saying his comments had 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," Blatter said. "But, normally, at the end of the match, you apologise to your opponent if you had a confrontation.
“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.
“You may say something to somebody who does not exactly look like you....but at the end of the match it's forgotten.”
Foot In The Mouth
On homosexuality: “They should refrain form sexual activity,” he said last December when asked about gay football fans travelling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
On the John Terry-Wayne Bridge episode: “Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries. If this had happened in let's say Latin countries then I think he (Terry) would have been applauded,” Blatter said about the Terry-Bridge-Perroncel affair last year.
On Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer to Real Madrid from Manchester United: “I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere,” the Swiss said. In 2009. The Portuguese winger is paid 11 million pounds a year - what slave?!
On corruption within Fifa: “There are no rotten eggs. There is no systematic corruption in FIFA. That is nonsense. We are financially clean and clear,” was his response in December 2010 on corruption within football’s apex body. Is anyone else laughing?
And finally, on women's football apparel: In 2004 football's Czar aired his views on what the women players should be wearing. “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball,” he said. “They could, for example, have tighter shorts. They are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so. Some decisions were taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?” If chauvinism had a name…