Thursday, 17 November 2011

European reaction to Sepp Blatter's racism comments

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter said: 'The whole world is aware of the efforts we are making against racism.' Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA
While Sepp Blatter's suggestion that racism was not an issue in football has been met with widespread scorn in Britain, the reaction across the rest of Europe has been more understated. While various British news websites have led this morning with calls for the Fifa president to resign, in countries such as Spain and Italy his comments are reported sparingly, if at all.
At time of writing short news stories can be found on the websites of leading Spanish newspapers Marca and AS, reporting Blatter's words without comment, while others such as Sport and El Mundo Deportivo made no reference to the story. The same is true of leading the websites of Italian newspapers Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport.
La Repubblica does pass some comment, noting that: "The world of football is in a state of ferment, especially in England, after an unfortunate comment from Joseph Blatter." The same piece also acknowledges Blatter's claims this morning that his words had been misunderstood, but adds: "His clarification appears late and clumsy – certainly not enough to put out this fire".
In France the story is slightly more widely reported. "Sometimes, Blatter would do well to run his tongue around his mouth seven times before speaking," says So Foot. "OK, perhaps he should do that often."
Meanwhile, a piece on Sport.Fr reads: "Sepp Blatter really didn't need this. Troubled for months by the corruption claims which plague Fifa and which have been revealed by several prominent former members of world football's governing body, [yesterday] the Swiss shot himself in the foot all on his own."
Of his response, they added: "It is not certain that this rapid reaction will suffice. Blatter's already seriously tarnished reputation risks taking another blow."

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