- Russia charged with fan racism less than two months before the World Cup
- Paul Pogba and France team-mates were victims of monkey chants last month
- FIFA say that disciplinary proceedings have now been opened against Russia
- World Cup hosts were charged over racism at last two European Championships
FIFA has charged World Cup hosts Russia with fan racism less than two months before the tournament begins.
Monkey chants were aimed at black French players, including Paul Pogba, during France’s 3-1 friendly win over Russia in Saint Petersburg last month.
After collecting evidence of the abuse, FIFA said ‘disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Russian Football Union for this incident’.
Paul Pogba and his France team-mates were the victims of racist abuse against Russia
Anthony Martial runs with the ball during France’s 3-1 victory in Saint Petersburg last month
FRANCE’S WORLD CUP GROUP GAMES
June 16 – Australia
June 21 – Peru
June 26 – Denmark
Russia was previously charged with racist behavior by its fans at the last two European Championships. On both occasions, the Russian Football Union paid a fine.
Photographers at the stadium claimed they heard the chants when France players went to take corners. Tuesday’s incident was the latest in a catalogue of discrimination cases linked to Russian clubs.
In October, UEFA charged Spartak Moscow after fans made racist chants during a UEFA Youth League fixture against Liverpool.
In March, Zenit were charged over accusations that their fans threw objects and engaged in racist behaviour during their Europa League clash with RB Leipzig.
France’s starting line-up in Russia contained six black players, including N’Golo Kante
Manchester United midfielder Pogba celebrates after scoring during France’s friendly win
Speaking after the incident, Piara Powar, head of FARE, said: ‘For us, the key issue is that the match took place at a stadium that will host one of biggest games during the World Cup. A semi-final will be there, plus many group games.
‘In many ways this match was a test of the protocols that the Russian Football Association has put in place, it was a match governed by the Russian FA.
‘This is a cause for concern, just over two months before the tournament, with no response from the stadium authorities after what looked to be a major incident.’
This is only the latest incident of discrimination linked with Russia ahead of the World Cup, which starts on June 14. FARE announced previously that there were almost 90 racist incidents recorded in the Russian league in 2016-17, compared to 101 in 2015-16.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said referees can stop or even abandon matches at the World Cup if racism occurs.