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Nov 23, 2011

Blatter: Racism row 'over'

FIFA president Sepp Blatter considers the race row he sparked to be over and insists he maintains a "zero tolerance" stance on racism.

• Taylor: Blatter should resign
• Blatter hits back at Ferdinand

Blatter, 75, came under fire last week for claiming there is no racism in the game and any comments should be ended by a handshake.

"I would deny it," Blatter said last week. "There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one.

"But also the one who is affected by that, he should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination."

Blatter was widely condemned and subsequently apologised, claiming his comments had been misunderstood.

He stood firm in the face of calls to resign, but at the opening of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur he moved to draw a line under the affair.

"I have made my apologies and I cannot say more," Blatter said. "Anybody still thinking that I am a racist, I am sorry to hear that.

"I have been working now for 37 years in FIFA and I started working in Africa. There is no discrimination in my feeling and there is no racism, nothing at all. This matter, for me, is over. I cannot say more than that.

"We go forward and there is zero tolerance in racism and in discrimination and zero tolerance in all activities on the field of play and outside the field of play.

"During my activities as FIFA president nothing surprises me, but I was very much hurt by these comments because it touched my conscience and in my conscience is the determination I have to go against any discrimination."

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