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Hugh Robertson predicted that Syrian presidential elections called for June by Bashar al-Assad would be a sham. “I think it’s ridiculous, is the short answer to that, and if you wanted to understand the Assad regime, just consider this: ... Continue to article
Sepp Blatter has apologised for causing offence with his comments on racism in football. Mr Blatter told the BBC "It hurts and I am still hurting because I couldn't envisage such a reaction". He added: "I can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations".
Labour MP David Anderson is to table an early day motion calling on Mr Blatter to resign when Parliament sits again on Monday. Earlier the South African Minister at the centre of the controversy said it is "unthinkable" to call a man like Sepp Blatter racist. In his statement, Sexwale said Mr Blatter had vowed to continue to stamp out racism on the pitch as he responded to criticism over his remark that racism on the pitch could be solved with a handshake. He added that it was "not helpful" that John Terry remained England captain while being investigated for racism.
The apology was issued after the Prime Minister and David Beckham added their voices those criticisin Sepp Blatter. David Cameron joined the calls for Blatter to step down from his role as head of Fifa after his comments on racism in football. A Downing Street spokesman told PoliticsHome that the Prime Minister backed Sport Minister Hugh Robertson's calls for Blatter's resignation.
Nick Clegg said England's bid for the 2018 football World Cup is "unbeatable" after meeting six officials from Fifa in Downing Street, where he emphasised the government's commitment to the campaign. Mr Clegg said: "We in this government believe in it, we hope that you [Fifa] will believe in it." He added: "The commitments, the declaration, the guarantees provided by the previous government are ones we back 100%."
David Cameron has lent his support to those calling for Sepp Blatter to step down from his role as head of Fifa after his comments on racism in football. A Downing Street spokesman told PoliticsHome that the Prime Minister backed Hugh Robertson's calls for Mr Blatter's resignation.
Mr Cameron said in a statement: “It’s appalling to suggest that racism in any way should be accepted as part of the game. A lot of work has gone into ridding racism from all aspects of our society, including football. As many of our top sports stars have rightly pointed out, now is not the time for complacency.”
Mr Blatter earlier hit back at critics on Twitter. As leading politicians united to call for Mr Blatter's resignation, he tweeted at footballer Rio Ferdinand: "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."
Sports Minister Mr Robertson said his comments were "incredibly serious", while his shadow Clive Efford described them as "utterly unacceptable and totally outrageous". Ed Miliband also said: "Football needs new leadership."
Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond has said the UK has a "duty of care" to its athletes, and that they should not be sent into unsafe conditions. UK sports ministers have held talks over the situation in Delhi, with Scotland's Shona Robison adding she was certain the Commonwealth brand "will survive the Delhi difficulties". The Welsh team has confirmed they will still be attending the games, after pictures of the incomplete state of Dehli's athlete's village were published earlier by a BBC reporter.
22/04/2014 on World at One, BBC Radio 4
11/12/2013 on PM, BBC Radio 4
28/10/2013 on Foreign and Commonwealth Office
12/10/2013 on The Week in Westminster, BBC Radio 4
01/10/2013 on Conservative party
12/09/2013 on Today, BBC Radio 4
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