John Terry’s behaviour would have been Applauded in Latin Countries, says Sepp Blatter
London Times: Ben Smith
The football world may have grown accustomed to Sepp Blatter’s spectacular gaffes over the years but the Fifa president put his foot in his mouth again today with a tasteless joke about John Terry’s alleged affair.
The Fifa president, who has previously stated that “homosexuality is more popular in women’s football,” and described Manchester United’s refusal to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to join Real Madrid as “modern slavery”, today decided to have his say on the controversy surrounding the deposed England captain.
“Listen, this is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries,” Blatter said. “If this had happened in, let’s say, Latin countries, then I think he would have been applauded.”
Terry flew to Dubai this morning in an attempt to repair his marriage amid allegations of an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-partner of England team-mate Wayne Bridge. The revelations saw Terry, Britain’s highest-paid footballer, on £150,000 a week, stripped of the England armband, to be replaced by Rio Ferdinand
At Goodison Park last night, Terry showed the first signs of strain from the furore over his private life as his blunders cost Chelsea vital points in the Premier League title race. Louis Saha twice took advantage of errors by the centre half to give Manchester United, the French striker’s former club, a helping hand as Everton came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1. Terry will miss the FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Cardiff City on Saturday after Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, agreed to give him time off.
Blatter also claimed today that there is a disrespectful prejudice against South Africa hosting the World Cup.
Phil Brown, the Hull City manager, said the terrorist attack on the Togo team in Angola during the African Cup of Nations put a question mark against this summer’s finals while Uli Hoeness, the Bayern Munich president, has said awarding the tournament to South Africa was “the biggest wrong decision” Fifa have made.
“I think it’s a nonsense to combine what has happened in an Angola, a terrorist attack for political reasons, and mix it up with the World Cup in South Africa,” Blatter said. “In Germany people like Uli Hoeness and also representatives of the professional leagues are saying we should not go there. But every year 11 million tourists go to South Africa and nobody says they should not go there.
“It’s a kind of anti-Africa prejudice, I think there is still in the so-called ‘old world’ a feeling that why the hell should Africa should organise a World Cup. Colonialists over the past 100 years have gone to Africa and taken out all the best things, and now they are taking all the best footballers. There’s no respect.”
Blatter’s best gaffes
March 2008 – On women’s football: “There are gay footballers but they don’t declare it because they think it will not be accepted in these macho organisations. Look at women’s football: homosexuality is more popular.”
April 2004 – On women’s football: “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts.”
July 2006 – On China inventing football: “We have to say thanks to the British associations – especially England – to have organised the game of association football. But you cannot deny the history that in China there is a recollection and evidence they played the game a thousand years ago.”