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FIFA president appears to downplay racial insults

  • Reuters, Wednesday, November 16, 2011 3:56 PM

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says players who are racially insulted during matches should accept it as part of on-field provocation and shake hands with their opponent at the end: "Maybe one of the players has a word, a gesture, towards the other which is not the correct one. But the one who is affected by that, he should say, it's a game, we are in a game, and at the end of the game we should shake hands.

“On the field of play, sometimes you say something which is not very correct. At the end of the game, it is over and you have the next game where you can behave better."

In response, Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said on Twitter, "I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism."

FIFA later issued a statement from Blatter saying his comments had been misunderstood: "I want to stress again that I do not want to diminish the dimension of the problem of racism in society and in sport. I am committed to fighting this plague and kicking it out of football."

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