Beckham blasts Blatter remarks
David Beckham (Getty Images)
Los Angeles - Former England captain David Beckham on Thursday condemned FIFA president Sepp Blatter's remarks on racism, but stopped short of saying Blatter should resign as head of world football's governing body.
"I think the comments were appalling. I think a lot of people have said that," Beckham said at a press conference to preview his Los Angeles Galaxy's clash with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday for the MLS Cup.
"I don't think the comments were very good for this game," he added.
Blatter's suggestion in a television interview that disputes on the pitch involving racist abuse should be resolved by a handshake sparked a storm in England, where he was already unpopular for the way in which he and FIFA dealt with the country's failed bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also called the comments "appalling" and the head of England's Professional Footballers Association, Gordon Taylor, also said Blatter should quit.
"He is the leader of world football, he has to be a leader in anti-racism," Taylor told Sky News.
Blatter's comments came as Liverpool's Uruguayan international Luis Suarez was charged by the English Football Association for allegedly racially abusing Manchester United's French international Patrice Evra.
England captain John Terry is also facing a police and FA investigation over allegations he hurled racist abuse at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Blatter said the sport did not have a problem with racism, but Beckham said that was wishful thinking.
"I have no power with who goes and who stays within FIFA and have no wish to have that," Beckham said.
"But there obviously is and has been racism throughout soccer and life in the last few years."
Beckham said he thought the FA had made "huge strides in the last 10 or 15 years" in battling racism in the game.
"But it is still there and it can't just be swept under the carpet, can't be sorted out with just a handshake. That's not how racism should be treated."