Russia have admitted that they need to work harder in order to reduce racism levels within the country before the World Cup 2018. The nation has been hit hard with several scandals involving racist abuse of players.
The likes of Christopher Samba and Samuel Eto’o have complained of racial abuse, even from their own supporters on certain occasions, during their time in Russian football. This issue has not surfaced a lot after Russia were awarded the rights to host the 2018 edition. In recent weeks, though, it has been grabbing a lot of attention and the general secretary of the Russian football union has accepted that racism issue needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.
A report from an individual committee presented more than 200 cases of racial abuse of players in the Russian league over the last two years. Such an incredible number of incidents will lead to the World Cup 2018 getting bad press if it is allowed to persist. In a recent Europa League match between Feyenoord and Roma, Ivory Coast international Gervinho was taunted with bananas from the opposition supporters. Italy, Spain, and Russia seem to have been the worst hit regions when it comes to racial abuse of players.
“We have enough disciplinary measures which are laid out in our regulations. On the other hand, perhaps they need to be used more strictly. It’s necessary that the professional football league and the clubs work more actively to that end. I think that really the host nation for the World Cup is under a microscope. There has been a lot of reports about corruption issues, both about Qatar and about Russia, and … there is really increased interest in host nations,” said the general secretary of the Russian Football Union, Anatoly Vorobyov, in the latest press conference.