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Sports

AFP
March 8, 2018

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Russia coach says no need to fight racism in football

MOSCOW: Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has brushed aside fears that racism and hooliganism in domestic football are serious enough to mar the World Cup later this year.

But his reassurance came as 10-time champions Spartak Moscow received a suspended stadium ban on Wednesday for abusive chants at a weekend derby against city rivals Lokomotiv.“I do not think that we have racism on a scale that needs to be fought,” Cherchesov told Brazil’s Globo TV.

“Hooligans? I have not seen any serious displays of it,” the former Russian national team goalkeeper added.Racism and violence are being monitored closely by organisers and the global football governing body FIFA as Russia prepares to host sport’s most watched event for the first time.

The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) anti-discrimination network reported 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games in the 2016/17 season.The problem became especially acute in the last decade as richer clubs began purchasing Brazilian and African players.

FARE noted a more serious anti-racism campaign being waged by Russian authorities in the run-up to the June 14-July 15 competition. But it said players and fans still risked abuse.

The Russian Football Union’s disciplinary committee issued a final warning on Wednesday to Spartak for nearly a minute of racist chants hurled at Lokomotiv’s Brazilian goalkeeper Guilherme Marinato.

“We studied the audio and video. We heard 50 seconds of chanting,” committee chief Artur Grigoryants was quoted as saying by R-Sport.Grigoryants said Spartak will face a partial stand closure if the chanting happens again. The team’s fans had targeted Marinato during domestic cup and Super Cup matches.“Now Spartak have (a final warning) in the Russian championship too,” Grigoryants said.

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