FIFA President Sepp Blatter expressed regret for causing offense with his comments that downplayed racism in soccer but rejected calls to resign.
He said was sorry for the furor caused by his claim that racist abuse does not exist on the soccer field and that any racial incidents could be settled by a handshake at the end of a match. Blatter said he "deeply regretted" using "unfortunate words," but he didn’t retract his view that racial insults could be forgotten after shaking hands.
“I am sorry and I regret that my statements earlier this week have resulted in an unfortunate situation and has taken this dimension," said the 75-year-old Swiss. "I am committed to the fight against racism and I have no doubt about that. When you have done something which was not totally correct, I can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations. It hurts and I am still hurting because I couldn’t envisage such a reaction.”
Blatter insisted his “fight against racism and discrimination will go on,” and said any players found guilty of racism on the field should be thrown out of the game. “Zero tolerance,” he said. “This was a good lesson for me as well.”