GENEVA — With his organization still reeling from corruption allegations, FIFA President Sepp Blatter faced calls for his resignation Thursday after saying racial abuse on the soccer field could be settled by a handshake and quickly forgotten.
The comment in television interviews Wednesday drew outrage across soccer. British Prime Minister David Cameron called Blatter’s suggestion “appalling,” while the country’s sports minister urged Blatter to leave “for the sake of the game.” The European Union described his remedy for racism as “completely unacceptable.”
Former Manchester United and English national team player Andrew Cole wrote in a newspaper column that Blatter was “clueless” and an “out-of-touch buffoon.”
Blatter’s latest gaffe follows previous verbal missteps such as suggesting that female players should wear tighter shorts, and gay fans should refrain from having sex at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar where homosexual acts are illegal.
Blatter managed to further discredit FIFA just weeks after he won some praise for promising to confront allegations of financial wrongdoing by senior colleagues as part of reforms following damaging allegations of bribery, vote-rigging and ticket scams.
The 75-year-old Swiss official sparked a furor in England, where authorities are investigating two allegations of racial abuse involving Liverpool and Chelsea players.