Jewish football reacts to Sepp Blatter's comments

By Danny Caro, November 17, 2011
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Representatives from the world of Jewish football have their say following the controversial comments on racism made by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

"I think Sepp Blatter is either naïve or stupid, or a combination of both. He’s certainly not living in the real world. Racism and antisemitism is deep-rooted and people who contribute to it have a hatred that can’t just be solved by a handshake. These type of people need to be taken out of the game – either permanently or temporarily – based on the level of the offence. I think Blatter should go. He’s 75 and I think that he should recognise the fact that he’s made a lot of faux pas in recent years and should step aside for someone else. But being a paid position, turkeys don’t usually vote for Christmas."
David Wolff (chairman of the JC MSFL)

"The event did cross my mind and has since that ugly day back in South Oxhey. As for comments, I can only look at the facts and my personal experience. Consequently, education is not relevant in terms of kicking out racism in football. Sepp Blatter is an adult and head of the World Governing body for Football.
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Virgil Levy (Montana Boca United player)

"In all honesty, it is not worth wasting any words or time on this ignorant buffoon.
"Perhaps Mr Blatter has the early stages of onset dementia because his comments would only befit someone suffering some form of mental illness.
"Anyone of a sound mind wouldn't even think those comments let alone say them. Time for Mr Mr Blatter to be put out to pasture or better still, nothing a Swiss euthanasia clinic in Zurich wouldn't cure."
Tony Gold (manager of London Lions)

"This is yet another example of how disconnected Blatter is from the reality of the modern world. His comments simply reveal what we already know which is that he is long past his sell by date."
Jonathan Adelman (chairman of North London Raiders)

"I am shocked and appalled by the comments made by Sepp Blatter. How is this guy in charge of world football? Can someone please explain this to me. I have witnessed first hand antisemitic and racist comments throughout my time and it is evident and apparent at all levels of the game. Yes racism has decreased over the past 20 years but it is still with us and everyone from grassroots up knows this and we all must work together to stamp it out. These stupid comments made by Sepp Blatter shows how out of touch he is with the game of football and life in general. Hopefully all the press he has been getting will force him to stand down. FC Team have always supported the Kick Racism and Antisemitism out of football campaign and we will continue to do so."
Mitch Young (chairman of FC Team)

"I think it’s ridiculous what he said, how can someone be racists to another player and then the player who has been racially abused be expected to shake his hand after the game, its pretty pathetic."
Danny Berg (coach of Redbridge Jewish Care A)

"The comments don’t surprise me in the slightest. The guy is an idiot and no-one really takes any notice of what he says. The sooner he retires or falls of a cliff the better it will be for football."
Darren Yarlett (coach of London Lions and joint-manager of North West Neasden A)

"I would simply reiterate the general comments being made in the press today. The guy has been out of touch for years now and his naïve comments are further proof what an unfortunate obstacle this man is to the good of the sport. No doubt FIFA will simply wash it under the carpet as usual and not pressurise him to resign but he is a dinosaur in a modern world with absolutely no concept of how to get with the times. In short, he is a disgrace."
(David Garbacz) (manager of Hendon United Sports Club A

"Sepp Blatter is a disgrace to football. You wouldn't expect this from anyone involved in the game, let alone the person right at the top.
Remember this is the man who also told us last year that "there is no systematic corruption in football" and gay fans should "refrain from any sexual activities" at the Qatar World Cup and was then returned, almost unanimously, as FIFA President.
It's time for a change - Wolffy for FIFA!"
Phil Peters (chairman/manager of Norstar)

"Somehow Blatter keeps being re-elected despite a number of ignorant, astonishing and provoking comments. It’s clear that Fifa’s efforts thus far to eradicate racism are pretty second rate. They impose tiny fines on clubs and countries which are less than what most players are being paid a week. Until some serious disciplinary measures are put in place nothing will change and Blatter will not be the one to do this.
Unfortunately, as the sports minister said, if Blatter is going to be pressured into leaving it will take more than an outcry from this country and realistically it will need commercial pressure."
Rob Richman (manager of North London Raiders B)

"The guy is a deluded buffoon and these farfetched comments just confirm this."
Oli Shorts (manager of North London Raiders C)

"To be honest nothing that comes out of Blatter's mouth surprises me anymore.
What he said was wrong and sends out completely the wrong message to everyone involved in football.
There is absolutely no place for any form of racism in our game and the sooner someone is placed in charged who will deal with the issue properly, the better for everyone.
If this isn't the end for Blatter then we have serious problems."
Jack Morris (Temple Fortune A)

"It's outrageous what he's come out with but before England comes out screaming and shouting, I think they need to unite with the world on this one. The problem is that not all associations deal with racism properly. It's not a good day for football."
Jonny Davis (chairman of South Manchester Sports Club)

"I think Sepp Blatter is a disgrace to football. How many times can one person get away with being so pathetic? This is not the first time he has stepped out of line. Racism is a very serious matter and he should resign with immediate effect. Football is a sport watched by millions and are always told they need to be role models to the kids growing up – how can they do that if the President is making remarks like this?
Dan Gordon (manager of Redbridge Jewish Care C)

"At the highest level, football is no longer a game. Football is a business and brand. Football brings millions of people together and gathers focus from all over the world. Blatter says that the players play a game and things are said in the heat of the moment and a handshake should settle it. The man is completely out of touch with modern society and lives in his own prejudice world."
Craig Sandford (manager of Glenthorne United B)

"I genuinely despise Sepp Blatter and his little anti-Premier League side-kick Michelle (sic) Plattini.
That being said, I have watched the entire interview all the way through and whilst the phrasing is wrong. I think it has been mis-interpreted.
His point is that people pick on the differences between us when looking to wind up or offend the opponent.
I can't think a week that goes by where I don't get called a fat ******* and whilst the truth hurts and I don't condone it, it is human nature.
Do I think Luis Suerez (if guilty) and John Terry (no if) should receive bans? Yes. Do I think racism should be kicked out of football? of course.
Do I think it will ever really change? No.
FIFA and Sepp Blatter are stale, old football conservatives> Goal-line technology is just another example of their wilting understanding of the fast-pace of Modern football and the need to move with the times.
Gabriel John (manager of Jewventus)

"It doesn't really surprise me what he said. Everyone knows the man is a complete idiot and the quicker he leaves FIFA the better.
The fact that that doesn't look like happening for a long time is nothing short of a travesty."
Laurence Conway (manager of SPEC FC)

"The fact that racism still exists in football is ludicrous, but with a clown like Blatter in charge what do you expect."
(Glenn Davis, Assistant Manager, Chigwell Athletic)

"It's very hard to take Blatter seriously. The man would be hilarious if he wasn't ruining football one ridiculous comment at a time. Re the racism issue: I honestly that this country is the best example for multi-culturalism and prospering immigrant communities in the world. I still think that. The racism on the terraces of the 1980s has been quashed and I'm shocked by the two recent accusations on the pitch. The saddest thing of all would be: if racism remains prevalent but people are too afraid to speak out and reveal it. That would mean that all we've succeeded in doing is silencing those with prejudices as opposed to changing mentalities. We (Oakwood) don't play outside of the MSFL so I'd be interested to hear what some of the other boys who do have experienced in terms of racism on the pitch. All I will say is that it does no harm to remember the reasons why the Jewish football league in this country was established - namely to create a league where Jews could feel safe to play away from discrimination and abuse on the back of WWII. Players, managers and the committee alike should remember the issues at hand from time-to-time and play in a spirit that reflects that."
Ric Blank (joint-manager of Oakwood)

"As players in the MACCABI Masters League will know, as you get older you have more senior moments. It seems that Sepp Blatter's senior moments are becoming more frequent! To suggest that you can racially abuse someone and then absolve yourself with a handshake is the height of lunacy!"
Stuart Lustigman (chairman of the Maccabi Masters Football League)

"I'm shocked at Blatter's comments.
He's an out of touch bigot who somehow remains totally unaccountable for his actions. We're lucky that Britain and London especially has developed a largely tolerant attitude to all races and religions, but it has taken 20 years of constant campaigning by the FA, the Premier League and organisations like Kick It Out to educate ignorant fans. My personal view is that racism has largely been eradicated from English terraces, a major achievement, yet if top class players such as John Terry and Luiz Suarez, who are role models to millions of kids around the world resort to racially abusing their opponents in fronnt of the sky cameras, then there is a real danger of racism rearing its ugly head.
Blatter alluded to personal battles which stay on the pitch and end with a handshake at the end of the game. We've all been guilty of over-zealous challenges and the odd four-letter tirade for which an apology usually suffices, but racial abuse transcends the boundaries of the game and is a criminal offence for a reason.
Racism breeds out of ignorance, Jewish teams like London Lions and Brixton who compete outside jewish football are important in integrating and educating people that the MSFL is not an exclusive Jewish gang but rather an extension of our community that we are proud of. Football is unique in being able to transcend national, racial and religious boundaries, we must continue to use it as a vehicle for tolerance."
Nick Kagan (Camden Park)

“If only life were as simple as saying sorry and offering a handshake”. There are people in society being arrested for racially abusing folk these days.
These so called football superstars that are paid fortunes, who are looked up too by the kids of society today, are not setting a good example.
I think its narrow mindedness and unrealistic in society today to offer a handshake after racially abusing someone. If someone turned round to me and called me a yid or a Jewish ****** on a football field and then offered me their hand in forgiveness, I would probably be in shock. However, people do say things in the heat of the moment and if they are sincere in their apology then there could be a place for forgiveness.
I have experienced both in my life and have said things out of turn and regretted it. However, there are folk in society who are generally racist and deserve nothing but punishment as a result of despicable vulgarities.
I believe most of the racism stems from families - mothers, fathers and their elders who pass down their views and opinions on religions and different cultures today. People are killed over religion and race and it isn’t acceptable."
Darren Rolfe (manager of UJIA)

"There is no place for racism in today's society, so football should be no different. Just because someone in any game is of a different colour it does not make them any less of a person.
If someone in a position like Sepp Blatter says something like that he should no longer be in that position. To step down after so much recent controversy is a must."
Viv Emanuel (manager of Montana Boca United)

Email contributions to dcaro@thejc.com

Last updated: 11:08am, November 25 2011