FIFA president set for talks

Blatter to meet with anti-racism chief

November 30, 2011
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has praised the work of English football's anti-racism organisation Kick It Out and pledged his personal support to the body in a communiqué with its chairman Lord Herman Ouseley.

Lord Ouseley
PA PhotosLord Ouseley has been at the forefront of English football's anti-racism campaign for the past 18 years

Blatter, who was criticised earlier this month for suggesting that racism on the pitch should be settled with a handshake, is in contact with Lord Ouseley and has agreed to meet with him early in the New Year.

"Following his statement and then his apology, we are seeking clarification from the president of FIFA about how he is supporting the anti-racism campaign here in Britain and also throughout the world," Lord Ouseley told ESPNsoccernet on Wednesday.

"He has recognised the work I am doing here and the work Kick It Out is doing and we have agreed to find a date in January to meet up to discuss how best to fight racism in football in Britain and throughout the world."

Lord Ouseley, an FA Council member, contacted FIFA to request an urgent summit with Blatter in the light of his comments.

Rather than join the universal criticism of Blatter, though, Lord Ouseley was keen to implore the FIFA president to lead a new fight against racism in football.

Lord Ouseley, the most influential and respected anti-racist campaigner in English football, told ESPNsoccernet: "I want to ask Sepp Blatter to put the power of FIFA behind the Kick It Out campaign, for FIFA to back it and for their president to back it and spread the world globally.

"Whatever he might have said, in whatever context, he has apologised and he was never going to resign. So rather than all the negatives that have come from this, we are seeking to find some positives, and I would hope that Sepp Blatter will respond to that request."

Lord Ouseley is waiting for the result of the John Terry race row, before taking a view about whether he should remain as an FA Councillor - based on the way the issue has been handled and not the actual decision - and added: "I am prepared to wait until the outcome, as people I trust and respect have asked me not to be impulsive and to wait until the outcome is known, and this is what I plan to do. Whether or not I have had enough of it all will depend on what happens next.

"The important issue here is that we have made great strides and progress over the last decade-and-a-half in challenging unacceptable and racist behaviour and we are all very keen to maintain that momentum. It must go on beyond this incident and ensure we set the standards that must not be breached in the future. What is done on that score will determine what I do next."