World Football - Blatter row: The verdict from Europe

Thu, 17 Nov 13:16:00 2011

FIFA president Sepp Blatter's ill-advised comments on racism have sparked huge controversy and given rise to prolonged debate in England.

Sepp Blatter - 0

England international Rio Ferdinand has become involved in a Twitter spat with Blatter himself, while the FIFA boss has faced calls to resign from influential figures.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and PFA chief Gordon Taylor are among those to have demanded that Blatter step down, while his face dominates the newspapers, websites and TV news bulletins on Thursday.

But how have his comments on racism in football been received across the continent?

We asked our network of sites to report on whether Blatter was making headlines and what the reaction to his comments had been.

Jose Luis Prados (Eurosport Spain)

The only article that has been published about Blatter and racism in the Spanish media came in AS. In Spain Blatter is only criticised because of corruption problems in FIFA. No one has made any comment on the racism problem.

Matteo Marceddu (Eurosport Italy)

We are focused on the new case that involves Blatter and I can ensure that he is heavily criticised in Italy too. We have written an article about the comments and other Italian media are covering it too. In our country Blatter is related to corruption and many people think he should have resigned years ago. Also in Italy, FIFA has a bad reputation. We think that the case between Bin Hammam and Blatter was very strange. Blatter represents FIFA, so our opinion about this institution is equally bad.

Maxime Dupuis (Eurosport France)

I have to admit that this story hasn’t been relayed much in France. He can’t say these kinds of things: I understand what he means, but there are better ways to explain it. We know that trash-talking exists, but you can’t tolerate racist trash-talking. In France, Blatter doesn’t represent much except the establishment. Always politically correct, not very interesting. His function warrants that. People don’t really care; and what he says is taken lightly. Should he resign? If the answer to that is yes, it is for other things from over the years. France is much more interested in UEFA. I think you can understand why: we’ll be more interested in FIFA when Michel Platini takes the lead of the organisation.

Igor Zelenitsyn (Eurosport Russia)

We have such a huge amount of problems in Russian football that we don't have time to think about Blatter. Secondly, he gave the World Cup to Russia so we can forgive some of his controversial quotes. Personally I can't agree with Blatter saying that there is no racism in football as there have been two cases in Russia with bananas being thrown at Roberto Carlos. I can't say if FIFA has a good or bad reputation. I can say that FIFA exists and that is all - nobody is thinking about it as good or bad. We read translated articles from British newspapers and we read about all the scandals and while some newspapers question what Blatter is doing, it is very rare. I must repeat that our problems are much heavier than FIFA's. The president of the Russian Football Union Sergey Fursenko is considered the big evil in football.

Cagri Develioglu (Eurosport Turkey)

Sepp Blatter is not a popular man in Turkey. The media criticise Blatter for different issues but at present only our site is reporting on the racism issue. In the past we wanted him to resign, but right now he is not at the forefront of Turkish public opinion as Turks are interested in the domestic bribery scandal. But as I said, Blatter is not loved in Turkey, just like other countries.

Daniel Sjoberg (Eurosport Sweden)

Of course the press have picked up on this and it has made news, but I have not seen anyone pressing for Blatter to leave as a result of this. As Sepp Blatter was the main opponent of our own Lennart Johansson in the bid for the FIFA presidency there has been a lot of press about him, but mainly news articles rather than opinion. People in general don't discuss him in the streets. Among journalists we don't talk about him especially either. I think we share your view of FIFA here. As I explained we don't think much about it because it is big and we are rather small. It is above our heads. UEFA comes up more in the press here, but if I was to ask people in the streets I would imagine their view of FIFA is that it is a club run by old men who are corrupt.

Peter Kwiatkowski (Eurosport Poland)

I think it is another of his rants which just shows what type of man he is. The fact that he says FIFA says no to racism is pointless, because in his view racism doesn't exist. So in that sense, FIFA's hard, back to basics work to change the thinking of players, supporters and everyone involved in football doesn't make sense. How can you change something if you don't think it exists? FIFA's program should probably be called "shake hands and forget about it after the match".


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