Skip to main content

Davids: Soccer not tackling racism

updated 1:36 PM EST, Fri November 25, 2011
  • Edgar Davids says the problem of racism in football is not being addressed
  • The former AC Milan star has been involved in a war of words with Johan Cruyff
  • Davids tells CNN that action must be taken when racist abuse occurs
  • He says the Dutch press have "let slide" Cruyff's comments at a board meeting

(CNN) -- Former Dutch football star Edgar Davids has called on authorities to take a stronger stance against racism.

Davids, who has been embroiled in a racism row with his country's soccer icon Johan Cruyff, told CNN that the problem is not being addressed despite all the recent publicity surrounding controversial remarks made by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

World football's leader was forced to backtrack after saying in an interview with CNN that there was no racism on the pitch and that any problems could be resolved with a handshake after the match.

The Suriname-born Davids, who won 74 caps for the Netherlands, is unhappy with remarks the 64-year-old Cruyff made to him during a supervisory board meeting at Dutch club Ajax.

Blatter: Racism row is closed

Sorry Blatter refuses to quit
FIFA President denies racism in football

"There's a line, and if you have a racist comment somebody has to act upon it. The person who did it has to be punished and later be educated off the pitch," the 38-year-old said on World Sport on Thursday.

"What Blatter said was inexcusable, but he apologized. Something like that also happened in Holland when Johan Cruyff made a racist comment. He did it but he didn't apologize.

"The Dutch press let it slide a little bit, and that is what you have to condemn. When someone makes a racist remark that doesn't make him a racist, but you have to say, 'This the line, you've crossed it and you have to apologize' -- not only to the person who has been hurt but also the people who live with that racial abuse almost all their lives. I think that's unacceptable if you don't."

How should football tackle racism?

Football's authorities have yet to dish out major penalties for racist offenses, with Bulgaria's Football Association escaping with a €40,000 ($53,000) fine after the country's fans racially abused England players in September.

And Blatter's comments have not had the impact worldwide they had in Britain, where the media quickly jumped onto the 75-year-old's remarks.

"You have to condemn those things, you have to act hard and really address the problem. I think that's lacking a bit," said 1995 Champions League winner Davids, who played for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Ajax and Tottenham during his illustrious career.

Part of complete coverage on
Blatter controversy
updated 1:54 PM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
Former England football defender Sol Campbell says Blatter's race comments are 'unacceptable' and make him "sick."
updated 9:07 AM EST, Fri November 18, 2011
FIFA President Sepp Blatter on past corruption scandals, reforms, Brazil's World Cup preparations and racism in football.
updated 12:28 PM EST, Wed November 16, 2011
FIFA President Sepp Blatter talks to CNN's Pedro Pinto about racism in football.
updated 8:57 AM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
Sepp Blatter's comments about racism in football are the latest in a long line of incidents that have embarrassed the FIFA president.
updated 8:56 AM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told CNN Wednesday that on-field racism was not a problem in football, remarks which caused a stir on the social-networking site Twitter.
updated 7:59 AM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
The chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association discusses calls for Sepp Blatter to step down from FIFA.
updated 5:52 PM EST, Wed November 16, 2011
Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore discusses eradicating racism in English football.