This week Tower Hamlets has been taking part in the national ‘Youth Week’ initiative. It’s a great idea designed to promote the range of opportunities available to 13 to 19 year olds outside school. The theme of the event is ‘Bringing Communities Together’.
Fostering greater community cohesion is one of my top priorities. Imagine my despair then when I heard that football’s most senior figure has denied that racism is a problem in the game. When it does happen, Sepp Blatter says it’s really all part of on-field banter and should be resolved between players with a handshake.
Blatter’s message only encourages bigotry. Worse, one football expert says this was not a case of foot-in-mouth, but a quite a deliberate attempt to pander to racism in the football world for self serving reasons. His comments are disgrace and he should be forced to resign.
Football has made great strides in the last 30 years eradicating racism from the game. We can’t allow that work to be undone. In a week when the family of Stephen Lawrence once again seek justice, and on day when Duwayne Brooks, who was with Stephen on the night of his murder, gave evidence in court, we know only too well where racism can lead.
It is simply wrong for Blatter to remain as head of Fifa.