A new report on discrimination in Russian football from the Fare network and the Moscow-based SOVA Center highlights an increase in the number of discriminatory chants inside stadiums, predominantly monkey chants and homophobia, which the study says indicates “deeply rooted issues and a lack of educational and preventative efforts by Russian clubs”.
Although the number of total incidents are down for the third successive season, particularly displays of far- right banners inside stadiums, and the Russian Football Union are commended for activities to identify incidents and sanction clubs, the authors express concerns in advance of the World Cup this summer.
The report also identifies an increase in homophobia in football, which the authors say is the result of widespread institutionalised homophobia in society.
The data was compiled between June 2017 and May 2018 using public sources, closed discussion groups, and online fan forums. All incidents listed in the report are based on clear evidence of their existence.
The Executive Director of the Fare network, Piara Powar, commented, “There are reasons to hope that the World Cup authorities will not allow serious violent incidents to take place by using all the resources of law enforcement agencies and special services. However, the football authorities in Russia and FIFA have missed valuable opportunities and time to deliver lasting change in Russia.
“We hope the spirit that brings people together will keep fans with provocative intentions out of the World Cup, and equality and understanding will be the prevalent story of Russia 2018.”
The study is the sixth in a series produced since the 2012/2013 season. The initiative has come under pressure from the Russian government through the declaration of the SOVA centre as a ‘foreign agent’ in late 2016. The labelling is being contested in the courts.
(VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA – APRIL 21, 2018: Fans during the 2017/2018 Russian National Football League match between Rotor Volgograd and Luch Energiya Vladivostok at Volgograd Arena Stadium. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS Credit: ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy Live News.)