FIFA, Kick It Out Forge Alliance Against Racism
August 1, 2012
FIFA president Sepp Blatter (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
(WFI) FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggests that FIFA change its “say no to racism” banners to “kick out racism.”
Blatter was appearing Tuesday at a joint reception to launch a partnership between FIFA and Kick It Out in Wembley Stadium before host Great Britain upset Brazil 1-0 in a women’s match at the London 2012 Olympics.
Blatter said racism should be kicked out of the game and out of society, though it will not be so simple because humans are passionate, emotional and imperfect.
“Racism has existed everywhere, since old ancient times,” Blatter said. “Now all of a sudden we have racism in our game. Something is wrong, because our game is based on discipline and respect. Our game is the school of life.
“We are over 300 million people in our game, directly, and those 300 million people with their families it makes one billion. A family of one billion, a seventh part of the world population. You cannot expect that this part will be better than the six other parts. We should. Our game is based on discipline and respect.”
Blatter elaborated on his controversial 2011 statement that a handshake can solve racism, given that such a handshake involve eye contact and true contrition.
Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley said he was “chillaxing” in the Caribbean when Blatter’s comments caused a storm, and he received calls from ESPN, CNN, Al Jazeera and BBC reporters. He said his immediate retort was that Blatter didn’t know racism because he never was a victim.
"The feelings of fear, hurt, isolation, vulnerability and exclusion are all part of that unwelcoming experience,” Ouseley said.
Most often, racist comments are resolved with an apology or handshake, “sometimes the occasional smack, sometimes things that are a bit menacing.”
Ouseley painted a picture of current events that shows more work needs to be done. The event was a day after Swiss defender Michel Morganella was banned from the Olympics for a Tweet insulting South Koreans.
Two former England internationals, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, are facing charges by The Football Association, and an employment tribunal ruling this week found League Two side Gillingham FC discriminated against Mark McCammon, a Barbados import.
Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
"Welcome to football in England, to everyone,” Ouseley said. “Of course, that's not an everyday occurrence, but the relationship we want to establish between FIFA and ourselves really is predicated on what the realities are that people in this country face, people around the world face.”
Ouseley referenced the 2011 London riots and the high unemployment rate for black males aged 16 to 24 in the United Kingdom. He said his campaign for equality and justice happens amid poverty and hopelessness.
“As national economic decline takes root, greed, selfishness and elitism go in the same sentence, fairness, access and equality becomes an irritant, bigotry, scapegoating flourish. All these things are happening,” he said.
“We need strong moral leadership at the helm, and football can use its popularity, wealth, resources in contemporary ways to benefit both the game and society.”
The event was attended by FIFA’s first female Executive Committee member Lydia Nsekera of Burundi, The FA’s first female board member Heather Rabbatts and Issa Hayatou, the Confederation of African Football president and International Olympic Committee member from Cameroon who was reprimanded last year by the IOC in connection with the ISL kickbacks scandal.
By INSIDER’s Bob Mackin
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