Toure backed over World Cup threat

25 October 2013 09:46

Yaya Toure has been praised by Europe's leading anti-discrimination group for raising the spectre of black players boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia after he alleged he was racially abused in Moscow.

UEFA has charged CSKA Moscow with racist behaviour of its fans after the Champions League match against Manchester City, and the Russian club will face a disciplinary hearing on October 30.

Toure has spoken of his disgust at hearing monkey chants, and RIA Novosti quoted the Ivory Coast midfielder as saying: "If we aren't confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia, we don't come."

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE and a FIFA anti-discrimination task force member, said Toure was right to raise the issue of the 2018 World Cup.

Powar told Press Association Sport: "Yaya Toure is absolutely right in raising the spectre of African players or players of African heritage not going to the 2018 World Cup - and without them there will not be a World Cup in Russia.

"I wouldn't blame them - in this era players are the most powerful force and if all the players said they are not going there wouldn't be a World Cup, or if there was it would be meaningless."

Powar said he did not envisage racism at a World Cup in Russia but that the situation in Russian club football was "dire" and fuelled by far-right extremists.

FARE has identified banners supporting the Greek far-right political party Golden Dawn - which has a swastika-like symbol - being displayed in several stadiums in eastern Europe including Romanian grounds and in Moscow on Wednesday.

CSKA Moscow are expected to challenge the UEFA charge after issuing a statement saying they were "surprised and disappointed" by Toure and City officials' allegations.

CSKA also quoted their own Ivory Coast player, striker Seydou Doumbia, as saying he did not hear any racist abuse.

Doumbia said: "I didn't hear anything like that from the CSKA fans.

"Yes, they're always noisy in supporting the team, and try to put as much pressure as possible on our opponents, but they wouldn't ever allow themselves to come out with racist chants.

"So my Ivory Coast colleague is clearly exaggerating."

The match referee Ovidiu Hategan from Romania, meanwhile, has been criticised for failing to follow UEFA's procedures and issue a stadium announcement warning that the chants must cease.

PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes, who is also European president on the international players' union FIFPro, said: "We're very disappointed that a clear agreed protocol which is designed to deal with these situations was not effected.

"The player, having done what was asked of him to notify the referee, quite rightly expected that the referee would go speak with the safety officer, and the [UEFA] protocol agreed is that the safety officer should make a stadium announcement warning the fans that if the chants do not desist that the game will be stopped."

A first offence of racist behaviour by supporters carries a sanction of a partial stadium closure and second offence leads to a full stadium closure plus a fine.

Source: PA

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