Blatter condemns Betis fans over racism

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has hit out at Real Betis supporters after a minority of the club’s fans were spotted racially abusing one of their own players.

Brazilian defender Paulao was sent off in Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Sevilla and television footage showed supporters making monkey chants at the player.

“Sickened to learn of ‘fans’ racially abusing a Real Betis player,” the 77-year-old wrote on Twitter.

“I condemn their actions, which were seen on TV/online by millions,” the Swiss added. “FIFA’s members approved a resolution at congress in May to tackle discrimination. It’s time for tougher sanctions.”

Blatter also posted a link to comments he made on combating racism when attending the English Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations last month.

“FIFA has to show zero tolerance to any form of discrimination,” he said at the time. If we do not apply this approach, then we have failed.

“We cannot be the police all around the world. But FIFA will intervene in our competitions. Football has a pyramid structure. We have Confederations and member associations. This has to also be tackled by organisers of other competitions.”

Over to you Spain.

Unfortunately, before Spain can deal with the problem, it has to acknowledge that is has is a problem. And this is something it has shown precious little sign of doing.

Asked last year how racism in Spanish football compared to the game in England, Spanish football federation chief Angel Villa Llona said: “There is no racism in Spanish football.”

Meanwhile, Paulao, 31, revealed his dismay at the episode after the game and called for the authorities to take a firm stance against the offenders.

“My family, in Brazil as well as here in Spain, are sad and worried,” he told reporters.

“When I left the pitch I was only upset about the sending off and I did not notice, although my friends told me about it later.

“It’s good that this gets a lot of publicity so that action can be taken. We are all the same. Skin colour changes nothing.”