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By Tony Attwood
As you’ll know by now the man who got elected to being top dog in Fifa in the same way the Colonel Gaddafi was elected in Libya (one man one vote, there’s no one else to vote for) has proclaimed how the football world should act and think in relation to the evil of racism.
Racist abuse should be settled with a handshake. Oh yes, no problem then.
This the man, and this is the organisation, that England has for years tried to cosy up to. I don’t think I have ever said anything positive about Mr Ferdinand on this site before, but he got it dead right saying Blatter was “so condescending it’s almost laughable” noting that Fifa’s reaction to criticism was to think they could “clear up the Blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man”.
The fact that the ‘black man’ (Tokyo Sexwale) has impeccable credentials in the fight against racism is neither here nor there. Fifa is corrupt, and Blatter is at best utterly unaware of what happens in football, or is himself a racist. How do you explain his CNN comment, “There is no racism.”
So far the call in England has been for Blatter to resign, but we know he won’t do that. The corruption of Fifa is so deep, and he is so central to it, that he won’t ever go.
The real fact however is that by remaining in Fifa the FA is condoning Blatter. The old argument that “we are in it, so we can reform it – we can’t do anything from outside” is rubbish. We can’t do anything inside, and being part of Fifa is to condone the way it is run and the attitudes that come from the top down which suggest that homosexuals should not go to the world cup in Qatar – and that’s ok – and that women should wear tighter shorts to encourage men to watch women’s football.
Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, made the obvious point, saying Blatter “has no understanding of what racism is, the ideology behind it, the damage it causes and how it subjugates one group of people as inferior. Enlightened leadership at this level is needed. Minor matters on the field often can be resolved with a handshake. Racism is not a minor matter. Kick It Out has no truck with the notion that racism can be dismissed and trivialised in this way.”
David Cameron, the British Prime Minister described the decision to broadcast the programme as a mistake, and spoke endlessly about how the BBC should show responsibility. Now once again we see what he was trying to do – to bow down to Blatter, a homophobic woman hating racist.
What we clearly should do, in my view (and of course maybe it is just my view) is have England pull out of Fifa today, and say to the rest of the world – if you support Blatter, his views, and his organisation, stay in Fifa in order to show that support. If not, withdraw, and meet with us to set up a new body that can organise international football on a non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobic basis.
I doubt they will do it – and as a result I ask myself why not? Probably because of vested interested. For those in the FA there is too much to lose. And that just shows where the limit of their moral stance is.
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