Blatter: I was misunderstood on racism comments

2011-11-19 14:08

Fifa president Joseph Blatter has said in an interview published today that he was “completely misunderstood” over his much-criticised comments about racism in football.

“I’ve been passionately campaigning against racism and any kind of discrimination for years,” he told the Swiss daily Aargauer Zeitung in an interview that was also published on

The 75-year-old head of football’s ruling body was widely criticised this week when he said incidents of racial discrimination between players on the pitch should be settled with a handshake at the end of the match.

England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was one player to criticise Blatter over his remarks.

Blatter’s latest interview follows similar remarks to the BBC yesterday in which he said he was sorry for all the people affected by his comments and that he remained committed to kicking racism out of football.

“Fifa is strongly committed in this regard,” Blatter told the Aargauer Zeitung. “We’ve launched several anti-racism campaigns, Say No To Racism etc. I answered Rio Ferdinand on Twitter and made my position clear and unambiguous. In any case, I apologise to everyone who was offended by my comments and I remain fully committed to fighting against these evils.”

On whether the criticism was hurting, Blatter said: “At the beginning it did. By now I’ve developed a thick skin and have more experience. I’m happy to receive healthy criticism. But it’s annoying when people constantly rake up old untruths. Above all, it’s not me who suffers from the criticism, but my family.”

In his last term of office until 2015, he said he was “mandated by the Fifa congress to enhance Fifa’s rather tarnished image.”

He added: “It’s also a priority for me to challenge the claims that I received any money. That’s totally and utterly false and has already been disproved in court.”

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