Blatter and Rio in Twitter War

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Rio Ferdinand have taken to the Twittersphere to bandy angry words about the issue of racism in football.

The racism issue is a hot potato in England due to recent cases involving Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, and John Terry and Rio’s brother Anton Ferdinand. Blatter doesn’t think it’s a problem in world football. His ill-considered suggestion in an interview with CNN had been that such matters should be dealt with by a manly handshake on the field.

Rio, never slow on the Twitter trigger, heaped ridicule on the FIFA boss, tweeting that the remarks were "so condescending it's almost laughable". He went on to lambast FIFA’s clumsy attempt to defuse the racism row by showing a "pic of him posing with a black man".

Blatter rose to the bait and responded. He identified the man in the picture as Tokyo Sexwale. "He has done tremendous work against racism and apartheid in Africa". Blatter added that FIFA had a "long standing and proud record in the area of anti-discrimination".

He had half a point, although in the interests of strict accuracy he might have added that its president also has a long standing and shameful record of making idiotic comments in public.

The PFA boss Gordon Taylor called on Blatter to resign for his comments about racism. The sports minister Hugh Robertson echoed that view. Blatter’s disdain for English football, its officials and politicians is well-established, and is unlikely to be softened by the latest storm.

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