World Cup hosts fined for racism during friendly against France08 May 2018


Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembele and N’Golo Kante were among those subjected to abuse in St. Petersburg at the Krestovsky Stadium, a host venue for this summer’s event.

A statement by FIFA said, “Following a thorough investigation including the review of video evidence, after analysing all the specific circumstances of the case, in particular the gravity of the incident but also the limited number of fans involved, (Fifa has) decided that the Russian Football Union was liable for a breach of article 58.”

The issue was first reported by photographers at the match, including from French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), who said they heard chants when players went to take corners. The statement was followed up through video footage by Fare observers.

Fare Executive Director, Piara Powar said after the match, “If photographers heard it pitch-side, then there must have been stewards and other officials who also heard it. So close to the World Cup, questions are being asked as to why it wasn’t dealt with as it occurred during play.”

The Krestovsky Stadium Stadium is home to Zenit St Petersburg who have twice faced Uefa charges for racism by its fans in Europa League games.

Zenit fans flew a banner praising convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic when playing a Macedonian club in November and are accused of using a racially charged term to mock an injured black player in a game against Leipzig.

The Russian FA has undertaken a series of anti-discrimination measures, including challenging some big clubs. However Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov is on record this year as having said, “I do not think we have racism on a scale that needs to be fought.”

Picture Supplied by Action Images