FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologised for his comments on racism in football but has stressed he will not resign from his post.
The Swiss chief sparked furore earlier this week when he suggested in a television interview that racial abuse on the pitch should be settled by a handshake at the end of the match.
His remarks provoked angry reactions from a host of leading figures in the British game, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron and other UK politicians.
There have also been widespread calls for the 75-year-old to step down from his post at the top of world football's governing body, with his recent comments the latest in a long line of controversial statements Blatter has made during his reign.
The president said sorry for his remarks on Friday but is adamant he will not resign over the incident.
"When you have done something which was not totally correct, I can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations," said Blatter.
But he added: "I cannot resign. Why should I?"
"When you are faced with a problem you have to face the problem. To leave would be totally unfair and not compatible with my fighting spirit, my character, my energy."
Tokyo Sexwale, the South African minister who was included in a photo with Blatter when FIFA put out an initial statement on Wednesday night saying the Swiss' comments had been misunderstood, admits the president's remarks were "unfortunate".
"I think it was a mistake, that's why it's unfortunate, to have mixed all the hullabaloo that happens on the field with racial slurs," he said.
"We should differentiate racial remarks from things that are said when players are fighting for a ball.
"Once you use a racial slur it doesn't go away. You cannot exchange jerseys or mitigate it with a handshake. That's why we call for action to be taken against players.
"I think what Mr Blatter was saying, he mixed up all those emotions. He was quick to say let's get on with the game. That was rather unfortunate.
"Having said that, I think this mistake has come at the right time. I think he has also inadvertently raised the level of tension against racism and discrimination on the pitch."