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Blatter has thrown soccer back 40 years

From Sol Campbell, Special for CNN
updated 3:15 PM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
  • Campbell: Sepp Blatter has thrown soccer back 40 years with his comments on racism
  • FIFA president's position at the head of world football is now untenable
  • Blatter sent out the wrong message to everyone who plays the game

Editor's note: Sol Campbell has had a 19-year career as a professional footballer, winning two English Premier League titles and three FA Cups. He represented England 73 times and played at three World Cup finals. This is an edited transcript of a conversation with CNN's Chris Murphy.

London, England (CNN) -- I think Sepp Blatter's comments on racism have thrown football back 40 years. He doesn't realize the ramifications of him saying those kind of things.

Basically his message is allowing opponents to racially abuse each other, shake hands and everything be OK. I don't know which world he is living in but he's not living in this world.

The signal it sends out is you can do whatever you want on the pitch, and Blatter can't do that. Yes it goes on, some players in cricket, or other sports, sledge their opponents but once you take the abuse to a racial level it is a bridge too far.

I can understand the outrage it has caused because you should not be subjected to that type of abuse on the pitch. When you get to that level, it's a different genre -- it's a different galaxy.

His remarks show he is completely out of touch. The longer he stays the weaker FIFA become.

His remarks show he is completely out of touch. The longer he stays the weaker FIFA become
Sol Campbell

I think he has to step down very, very quickly. He should not wait to be sacked, he should have a little bit of honor and step down very, very quickly.

He has done some fantastic things for football, he's presided over a number of successful World Cups but now, for him to say what he has and not even realize what he is saying, is ludicrous.

Why is there someone at the top who doesn't know the impact of what he's saying around the world?

We can go further, kids playing against each other in schools, parks, Sunday league football, might think you can racially abuse your opponents, shake hands and it is OK.

When I was younger I experienced player-on-player racism. When I first started at Tottenham, we played one Italian team while I was on tour, so I have had it in the beginning of my career.

I can't believe it is still happening. When people say 'heat of the moment' -- that doesn't wash with me. So every time it happens, are you protected by the heat of the moment?

I work with Show Racism the Red Card, they have been very vocal about his interview along with the Kick It Out campaign. Blatter's comments undermine their work.

If the head of world football is saying something like that and is so oblivious to what he is saying, you start to think, what are we fighting for?

He is the head of world football, the body controlling the game, he's at the top of the pyramid. It is ludicrous.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sol Campbell.

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