PFA chief leads calls for Fifa president Sepp Blatter to resign

Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor says Sepp Blatter should resign as Fifa president over his comments on racism.

Blatter claimed that football does not have on-field problems with racism.

However Taylor told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "When you see the corruption they've had at Fifa, I just feel it's the straw that broke the camel's back.

"The comments he made about homosexuals not going to Qatar; it's time to move over for [Uefa chief] Michel Platini."

Taylor was reacting to comments made by Blatter in two separate television interviews when the Swiss leader of football's world governing body was asked whether he thought racism on the pitch was a problem in the modern-day game.

"I would deny it. There is no racism," said Blatter.

Blatter's comments are the latest controversy to hit Fifa, which has been led by the 75-year-old since 1998.

Former Fifa presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned from football for life earlier this year after being found guilty of attempted bribery, while vice-president Jack Warner, who was suspended pending an investigation into bribery allegations, resigned.

Blatter has previously caused outrage when he suggested England had over-reacted in stripping John Terry of the national team's captaincyexternal-link, compared Cristiano Ronaldo's move from Manchester United to Real Madrid as slaveryexternal-link and said the women's game would be improved by "tighter shorts".

On Thursday, the Swiss used social networking website Twitter to point out Fifa's ongoing work to eradicate racism from football.

He tweeted:external-link "We have done several joint activities to raise awareness on the struggle against racism in South Africa...FIFA has a long standing and proud record in the area of anti-discrimination which will continue."

And Britain's vice-president of Fifa, Jim Boyce, said: "I was very surprised to hear the president's remarks but have been pleased that both he and Fifa have come out to try to clarify the situation.

"There should be zero tolerance regarding racism, sectarianism and discrimination in any shape or form and I do know that many people at both Fifa and Uefa are working to eradicate this cancer from the game."

Following a meeting of chairmen the 20 Premier League clubs stated: "The English game has been at the forefront of tackling racist behaviour and other forms of discrimination.

"Everybody in the game in England understands any form of racism is totally unacceptable.

"There are still issues, as there are in society, so with our partners, Kick It Out, the PFA and the FA, we must remain committed and vigilant to maintaining the standards we have set and confronting any incidents that occur."

Meanwhile sports minister Hugh Robertson and shadow sports minister Clive Efford have both called for Blatter to step down.

When asked if Blatter should resign, Robertson told BBC Radio 5 live: "Yes. I can't see there's anything terribly new in this. We've been saying this for some time.

"What Sepp Blatter said, in this country, is just completely wrong as well as being morally indefensible.

"Racism is a criminal offence in this country and anybody who's caught indulging in it will face criminal sanctions.

"If you're going to put pressure on Fifa, it's going to need more than an outcry in this country - and I think that commercial pressure is the one that in the end will tell."

Efford told the BBC Blatter's comments were "utterly unacceptable and totally outrageous" and "show how he is deeply rooted in a bygone era".

He added: "Football in Great Britain has made fantastic progress to show racism the red card. This excellent work is undermined when the president of football's international governing body makes such despicable comments - he should resign."

Former sports minister Richard Caborn told BBC Radio Sheffield that the comments were "totally unacceptable" but said Blatter should not resign.

"What he outght to do is produce a blueprint, as he said he would do. I hope this is part of that - the opening up, the transparency, accountability and better representation [of Fifa]. If he does that, then that's the time to go."

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