The controversy surrounding FIFA President, Sepp Blatter’s denial that racism existed in football continues unabated. However, it has taken a turn that perhaps highlights the comedic talents of some of the key players and detracts from the main issue. This turn started with a furious exchange of twitter messages between England and Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand and Sepp Blatter. At the centre of those messages is a wealthy South African businessman aptly named Tokyo Sexwale.
The hurling of the proverbial hand bags all started when Sepp Blatter posted a link on his Twitter page directing his followers to a Fifa article that attempted to clarify his comments under the title ‘Blatter: Committed to fight against racism’. The image that accompanied the article is below.
Rio Ferdinand who ealier had sent a twit to Sepp Blatter’s twitter account writing: ”@SeppBlatter your comments on racism are so condescending its almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that ok?” hit out again after seeing the photo of Sepp Blatter posing with Tokyo Sexwale. He fired back on twitter writing: ‘Fifa clear up the Blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man..I need the hand covering eyes symbol!!’
Sepp Blatter seeing an opening and perhaps sensing Rio Ferdinand did not know who the “Black man” was twitted back.
‘The ‘black man’ as you call him has a name: Tokyo Sexwale. ‘He has done tremendous work against racism and apartheid in Africa. We have done several joint activities to raise awareness on the struggle against racism in South Africa. ‘Fifa has a long standing and proud record in the area of anti-discrimination which will continue.’
So who is Tokyo Sexwale?
From Robben Island prisoner to millionaire businessman and politician, Tokyo Sexwale is a symbol of black aspirations in post-apartheid South Africa.
The veteran of the liberation struggle is one of the country’s richest men and hosted the South African version of The Apprentice. The 58-year-old government minister, who was pictured hugging Sepp Blatter on the Fifa website, is touted as a possible president. More Here.
Tokyo Sexwale has not made a comment yet but let’s hope the tit for tat between Rio Ferdinand and Sepp Blatter, as amusing as those twitter comments may seem, does not detract from what is a serious issue of discussion.