Sunday 17 November 2019

Blatter backs Swiss decision over Morganella

Simon Stone

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has confirmed he supports the decision to send Michel Morganella back to Switzerland for making a racist Tweet.

As a Swiss national, Blatter admitted he had been embarrassed by the incident at a time when the spectre of racism is rearing its head once more.

And, speaking at a gathering of invited guests from FIFA and the anti-racism group Kick it Out, Blatter said the Swiss FA had taken the correct action.

"Sure (I support it)," he said.

"It is embarrassing for the whole football family. It is embarrassing for the entire Olympic Games."

The case is particularly sensitive because yesterday the Football Association charged Rio Ferdinand over his "choc-ice" Tweet in reference to Ashley Cole following John Terry's acquittal of racially taunting his brother Anton.

There have already been plenty instances of players getting into trouble for comments made on Twitter.

However, the Ferdinand case would be the most high profile.

The Manchester United defender has until this evening to respond and FA chairman David Bernstein has warned all sections of the game he is ready to clamp down.

"We must continue to be tough as a regulatory body on sanctioning and disciplining inappropriate behaviour," he said.

"Wherever possible we must bring incidents of discriminatory abuse to charge and all participants must know the consequences of their actions.

"This goes for the twittersphere as much as on the pitch, in the stands and in the recruitment processes across football."

However, Kick it Out chairman Lord Ousley expressed surprise at the charge being brought.

"I am surprised. I didn't think he was the initiator - but there has to be consistency," he said.

"If the FA have been charging other people for Twittering and consider a rule has been breached, they are under an obligation to invoke procedures if that is appropriate."

It also extended the time Terry was initially alleged to have made his remarks until total resolution to beyond nine months, a situation Ousley feels has damaged the game.

"Ideally these things should be resolved within hours," he said "There has been a lot of damage done and the police intervention didn't help at all because one investigation should not stop the other."

Terry has also been left free to play in England's friendly with Italy in Berne on August 15, plus any subsequent internationals, until after the FA have concluded their case, just as the Chelsea skipper was allowed to play at Euro 2012 pending his trial.

Ousley does not believe that is the correct procedure.

"Representing your country is an honour. You are representing your values and the respect that goes with it," he said.

"If those things are threatened by allegations, the need to be investigated and concluded first before you can enjoy that honour."

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