Referencing the anti-discrimination observer system developed by Fare and implemented during the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer with FIFA, Smertin said: “The main task of the new monitoring system is to contribute to the creation of a welcoming and friendly atmosphere in the stands at the matches of the Russian Premier League. This system has proved itself well in the Confederations Cup, and we are sure that it will be extremely useful in the Russian championship.”
The first incidents recorded as part of the new monitoring system included racist chanting by Spartak Moscow supporters towards Lokomotiv goalkeeper Guilherme at the Russian Super Cup on July 14 and monkey noises performed by Dynamo Moscow supporters at the opening round of the Russian Premier League on July 18. Both clubs were fined 250 000 RUB (€3650) and warned that further incidents would incur stricter punishment.
The report did not mention a homophobic banner displayed by Dynamo Moscow fans at the same game, although the club was fined for the display of an ‘unauthorised banner’.
The system will primarily focus on the Russian Premier League with some Football National League (Russian second league) matches being monitored. At the opening round of the FNL Smertin reported neo-Nazi chanting from FC Avangard Kursk, which resulted in a 25000 RUB (€ 3650) fine for the second league club.
Precise details of the new system announced by Smertin are not clear, however it is thought to follow the methodology developed by Fare to monitor and report incidents of discrimination in football at UEFA international matches since 2013 and at the FIFA World Cup 2018 preliminary competition since May 2015.
Fare has been reporting on incidents in Russian football since 2012 in cooperation with the Moscow based SOVA center think tank. In the first and follow-up reports, Fare made a set of recommendations to the Russian Football Union on improving the situation which included the need to develop a monitoring system of this kind.
The latest report, A changing picture: Incidents of discrimination in Russian football 2015-2017, was launched by Fare and the SOVA centre at the start of the Confederations Cup. There were 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games in the 2016-17 season.
© Denis Tyrin