Under fire Russia pledges to boost fight against racism
Russia`s sports minister Vitaly Mutko promised Thursday that the country will step up measures against racism ahead of hosting the 2018 World Cup after a fresh race row hit its Premier League.
Moscow: Russia`s sports minister Vitaly Mutko promised Thursday that the country will step up measures against racism ahead of hosting the 2018 World Cup after a fresh race row hit its Premier League.
Russia has a history of racist abuse in the game and authorities have been accused of turning a blind eye to the problem.
"Racism at football is not only Russia`s problem," ITAR-TASS news agency quoted Mutko as saying.
"We will beef up the struggle with it. We`ve already strengthened sanctions for such things.
"We will also establish the special position of inspector, who will keep his eye solely on the outbreaks of racism during the matches. The violators will not go unpunished."
Mutko`s comments came after Ghanaian footballer Emmanuel Frimpong lashed out at Russia`s FA for allegedly ignoring racist abuse he suffered during a game last week.
The ex-Arsenal midfielder, 23, who now plays for provincial side Ufa, was sent off after just 30 minutes during the season`s opening match against Spartak Moscow after he made an abusive gesture at opposing fans he insists were racially abusing him.
Frimpong said he was the target of monkey chants but a Premier League executive board investigation said there was no evidence to support the footballer`s statements and left Spartak without punishment.
On Wednesday he was handed a two-match ban for his reaction during the match.
"For the Russian FA to say they didn`t hear or see any evidence of racism is beyong joke," Frimpong wrote on Twitter.
"We live in a crazy world. Must stress not all Russians behave like that.
"Been banned for two games acceptable on my part for the gesture, no problems with that."
Meanwhile, Alexander Meitin, Russian Premier League security chief, said no reports about racial abuse during the match have been made.
"I was at the Spartak home venue myself during the match and had not hear any chants or racist shouts," Meitin said in an interview with Radio Sport.
"We have studied all the video footage from the game and questioned the match stewards but found no evidence in support of Frimpong`s words."
Dynamo Moscow Congolese full back Christopher Samba was also banned for two matches over a similar incident last season.
Meanwhile, Zenit St Petersburg`s Brazilian forward Hulk has repeatedly complained of being a target of a racial insults at the Russian league matches.