David Beckham
David Beckham has labelled Sepp Blatter's comments on racism "appalling". REUTERS

David Beckham and David Cameron have both condemned Sepp Blatter's comments on racism, as the controversy threatened to engulf the FIFA president.

Blatter has come under sustained criticism in the past 48 hours after he suggested that racial discrimination on the pitch could be settled with a post-match handshake.

The 75-year-old has since claimed his comments were misunderstood but Beckham said the attention has only served to destabilise the work done in recent years to eradicate racism from football.

"The comments were appalling. A lot of people have said that," Beckham told reporters ahead of the MLS Cup final in the United States. I don't think that the comments were very good for this game.

"There obviously is, and has been, racism throughout soccer and in life over the last few years. I do think, especially being around the England team and being around the FA - the FA do a lot of work in kicking racism out of the game.

"They've made huge strikes in the past 10-15 years - but it is still there."

Beckham also refuted Blatter's assertion that a handshake at the final whistle was sufficient to forgive any racist comments on the pitch.

"It can't be swept under the carpet, it can't be sorted out with a handshake," he added. "That's not the way of the world and that's not how racism should be treated.

"It's out there and we have to keep working hard to keep it out of the game and life in general. Racism is something we want to keep out of sport but also life in general."

On Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron also criticised the FIFA president.

"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."