Before We Impeach The FIFA President, A (Partial) Defense…

Chris Wright

17th, November 2011


By Chris Wright

Patrice Evra. Anton Ferdinand, Sammy Ameobi, Daniel Sturridge, Frazier Campbell, Alan of Braga. It seems that every few days over the past few weeks another fresh report of *alleged* racism has surfaced – whether on the pitch, in the stands or on the often stupefying petri-dish of open twattery that is Twitter.

Not that there’s suddenly a virulent epidemic of racial abuse fogging the minds of the nation or, indeed, that racism in football is any more prevalent than it was two months ago – it’s just that, with the floodgates as open as they are, more players are seeing fit to report incidents that they may have otherwise shrugged off or crudely dealt with themselves from the greasy keypads of their Blackberrys.

For example, if some anonymous little prick calls Player X a ‘monkey’ on Twitter, the current climate and ongoing high-profile cases seem to be tending to lead Player X to report the abuse to his club/the authorities, rather than rising to the bait and ending up with a disciplinary hearing to call his very own.

This is a good thing.

“Some of my best friends are black”

However, FIFA’s Presidential dumpling Sepp Blatter waded into the furore yesterday – first appearing to suggest that racism doesn’t actually exist and that, if it does, then all racist diatribes on the football pitch should be written off with a quick high-five and a slap on the backside at the end of the match.

Which is a bad thing. Only, that’s not actually what ol’ Sepp was getting at.

Blatter, speaking in broken English I might add, was actually trying to make the point that just because a racist slur is bleated during a game as nothing more than a thoughtless, provocative insult, it doesn’t automatically make the player responsible a life-long, frog-marching KKK Grand High Dragon.

Not that that makes it alright by any stretch – the recipient is still being subjected to the same discriminatory terminology and the offence suffered doesn’t differ according to the flippancy of the usage – but Blatter was stating that the fact that the slurs used on any given football pitch (hopefully) aren’t rooted in any insidious, vindictive personal hatred, which surely means that they don’t warrant being treated quite so gravely as many sanctimonious observers would have you believe.

Which is a fair point. One I’ve made before myself. Using a racist term doesn’t necessarily make you a racist.

Given his abysmal track record, Blatter deserves a little credit for distinguishing between the two stems – though he also deserves to have all that credit immediately struck off for failing to recognise that the net result is the same. The hypothetical player in question has been racially abused.

Anyway, since the FIFA honcho’s ill-advised wording yesterday, a gaggle of calls for his resignation have been heeded (once again), with several members of the FA, PFA chief exec Gordon Taylor and Rio Ferdinand all calling for an ‘impeachment’.

Blatter responded with an official apology of sorts (a ‘mitigation’ would be more apt), reinstating his organisation’s firm anti-racism stance and accompanying the statement with a picture of him hugging South African World Cup organiser Tokyo Sexwale – a black chap, in case you were wondering. There you go, proof if proof were needed.

And yes, you did read that correctly. Tokyo. Sex. Whale.

Posted in Featured, Opinion

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  1. Col says:

    He’s an old ignorant fool – nothing more, nothing less. It’s high-time that someone else stepped in, for the sake of football. There’s no consistency in the FA’s decisions and it’s failing to encourage the progress of the modern game and links with societal developments.

  2. Davy says:

    I just let out an involutary (in the office) snigger at that dudes name and had to swiftly apologise as my boss was in the office!!!

    Oh and regardless of whatever Sepp needs to go and needed to go ages ago!!

  3. Mizman says:

    he has no defence. end of.

  4. Dr. Roberts says:

    Sloppy Butter.

    He is without doubt an archaic, colossal tool.

  5. pooky says:

    If the first thing you say in the heat of the moment is a racist slur then you probably DO have racist tendencies, otherwise it wouldn’t be on the tip of your tongue!

    At least Blatter shows equal idiocy when it comes to race, gender & sexuality…

  6. shay says:

    Look he touched a black person. Clearly he is no racist. What a tool.

  7. The Weasel says:

    What a complete and utter load of tosh. The reasoning of a school child.

  8. Mr Sensible says:

    If you use a racial term to degrade another human then no matter how you try to twist it you are being racist and are a racist, it’s quite simple.

    I don’t go round saying racist things to people because it’s absolutely disgusting and I have no desire to. There is absolutely no way you can condone what someone says just because he is trying to agitated someone. He is being racist and is fully aware of his actions therefore he is a racist.

    Blatter is a complete idiot who has no care about the issue because I pretty sure he has never had to deal with it in his entire life and so has no understanding.

  9. Elmyr says:

    “Blatter was stating that the fact that the slurs used on any given football pitch (hopefully) aren’t rooted in any insidious, vindictive personal hatred, which surely means that they don’t warrant being treated quite so gravely as many sanctimonious observers would have you believe.

    “Which is a fair point. One I’ve made before myself. Using a racist term doesn’t necessarily make you a racist.”

    The fact that odious and criminal actions happen on a football pitch doesn’t make them any less odious and criminal. Whether it’s rooted in personal hatred is moot.

    To bring it up as a defense – to excuse the contemptuousness of an act by what you imagine may or may not be in a person’s mind (and of which they themselves are likely not conscious) – is a pretty specious argument.

  10. chet says:

    “Which is a fair point. One I’ve made before myself. Using a racist term doesn’t necessarily make you a racist.”

    Im sorry but there is simply no time this is ever correct. Try telling that to a black man after calling him a monkey. He’ll be fine with it, I’m sure. Unbelievable.

    • Chris says:

      @Chet: I’m not saying that I condone that standpoint or that it’s right in any way – I’m just saying that it’s the point that Sepp was driving at, rather than audaciously claiming that racism doesn’t even exist.

  11. Mr. Sparkle says:

    Let’s impeach him already. I think wherever we may be, whether in the Faroe Islands or the Centre of the Universe, we should all write petitions to our respective FA’s and admonish them to vote against this geezer.

  12. Vans says:

    Good article, poeple need to understand how competitive these athletes are and if things arent going right they will do things they regret. All the above people should get down off their high horse for flip sake. And anton you’ve had your 15 minutes of fame mate so no need to get involved in everything.

  13. WildScotsman6 says:

    I’m with Pooky… I’m the first to let out a rage of words no child should here on the pitch… but none of them are anywhere close to racial abuse. It shouldn’t even be on the tip of your tongue.

  14. jon says:

    alan of braga sounds like a kings name.

  15. Tom says:

    He should go – as Gordon Taylor points out, this is not the first time Sepp has revealed his Prince Phillip-esque xa

  16. Tinez says:

    Any chance of correcting the spelling of defense in the title?

  17. Zaza says:

    As a south african I already know many south africans have ‘unique'(crazy!) names, don’t worry I’m a black south african myself… some of my favourites: ‘blade nzimande’, ‘Chiliboy Ralepelle’, ‘macbeth sibaya’..

    Btw, sorry to disappoint but tokyo isnt his real name, it was a nickname given for some reason, and when pronounced properly=
    (SEH- WA- LAY) Sexwale’s surname actually sounds nice.


  18. Paul Stewart says:

    It would appear from here [ex-pat Brit in New Zealand] that this is purely a British tabloid “beat-up” of the local situation. Yes, it is disgraceful to see racism still prevail on the turf of the nation that gave the world its greatest game. While still not perfect, FIFA have a pretty good handle on the world wide game. The FA should stop doing what it does best … sweet FA, and sort out their own back lawn.

    We are all the same in our underpants.

  19. K says:


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