CSKA Moscow Guilty Of Racist Chants Against Manchester City’s Yaya Youre… What Next FIFA?
UEFA has imposed a partial stadium closure over at CSKA Moscow after fans were found to have indulged in racist chants when playing Manchester City at the Arena Khimki.
When CSKA play their next home game against Bayern Munich, some of the stadium will be closed. Not surprising that the club was found guilty, given that even a state-owned news agency (and they have to tow the line with authorities) admitted that racist chanting was a common problem at Russian league games.
CSKA denied claims, saying they were ‘surprised and disappointed’ by Yaya Toure’s allegations and went as far as suggesting that he could’ve made the whole thing up. Deputy media manager for CSKA said: “Nothing special happened. Nobody else, other than Toure, heard anything.”
A club statement went further, saying: “Having carefully studied the video of the game, we found no racist insults from fans of CSKA. In many occasions, especially during attacks on our goal, fans booed and whistled to put pressure on rival players, but regardless of their race. Why the Ivorian midfielder took it as all being directed at him is not clear.”
The club even got their Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia to defend the club, saying: “I didn’t hear anything like that from the CSKA fans.”
President of the Russian FA chipped in too. Vyacheslav Koloskov thinks there’s no need for an investigation saying that these allegations were ‘provocations’ aimed at discrediting Russian football: “Previous provocations from the British and now this story are along the same track – I have no doubt about it. It started when Lord Triesman dreamt of some conspiracy between Spain and Russia.”
“So it continues on the same track – we react and because of this it gives them a reason to carry on with the same topic. If it were me, I’d stop publishing these articles from England and then it would stop. There would be no interest in this rubbish talk any more.”
‘Toure could have dreamt it. The linesman is running the line, closer to the stands than Toure – and he didn’t hear anything. The referee hasn’t heard anything. We asked the coach after the game and he hasn’t heard anything. The match delegate hasn’t heard anything. Toure has dreamt something up there.”
“And if it is true that an investigation has been opened, then UEFA is absolutely wrong. They don’t have any reason to do it.”
So what next? CSKA officials plead their innocence but UEFA said that they’ll be opening disciplinary proceedings. If UEFA are confident enough to close part of the ground, then surely they’ve found the Russian side guilty? Surely heavy fines or bans are in order?
Worse still, with major sporting events in Russia coming our way – a Winter Olympics and a World Cup – a lot of questions need answering. If fans are prone to racist chanting and homosexuals are made to feel like criminals, this could be one of Russia’s most damaging PR campaigns.
President Vladimir Putin hasn’t commented on UEFA’s investigation, but he’s going to have to speak up soon or there is a very real prospect of a boycott. Any boycotts will be met with indifference by Russian officials, but of course, they’ve got previous themselves, with the boycott of the ’84 Olympics which saw Eastern Bloc countries setting up a separate Friendship Games.
UEFA are trying to lead the charge against this behaviour, but in the past, have been hugely guilty of weak fines. FIFA meanwhile, have failed to act on anything.
Could we see a ban on Russian clubs in a similar way to the ban on English clubs in the 80s?
Photo: World Cup Mexico 1986 – Group F – England v Portugal – Tecnologico Stadium. England fans show off their club and political allegiances