Soccer

Blatter: Racism row closed

2011-11-23 09:10
Sepp Blatter (AFP)

Kuala Lumpur - FIFA president Sepp Blatter reckons he has apologised enough for his recent comments on racism that triggered a furore and considers the matter "closed."

Blatter expressed regret last week for the uproar caused by his claim that racial incidents between players on the field could be settled by a handshake at the end of a game.

"I can only say this item for me is closed," Blatter told a news conference at the Asian Football Confederation's headquarters in Malaysia on Wednesday. "There is no tolerance (of) racism.

"I have been interpreted as such and I have made my apologies. I cannot say anything more."

Blatter was responding to a question about his next move after Neil Warnock, manager of Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, suggested last week that black players around the world should boycott their next international matches in a show of protest against Blatter.

"There is no discrimination in my feelings, there is no racism, nothing at all," Blatter said. "This matter for me is over. We go forward. There is zero tolerance (for) racism, zero tolerance (for) discrimination in all activities in the field of play and outside the field."

Blatter insisted he was not surprised by the British media's strong criticism of him and calls for him to stand down as head of football's world governing body, but added that he was "very much hurt by these comments because it touched me in my conscience and my determination to go against racism."

The 75-year-old Swiss, who was re-elected to a four-year term in June, last week ruled out leaving his post amid the latest controversy.

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