Edgar Davids: Football not tackling racism02 December 2011

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.

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.

“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.

Blatter's remarks inexcusable
“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.

Allegations of racism surfaced last week that Cruyff directed a racist comment at Davids, who is of Surinamese descent. Cruyff reportedly said at a meeting earlier this year that Davids' skin colour was the reason for his appointment to the Ajax board.

“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 to 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.