No gays or black players demand Zenit group in open letter
A Zenit St Petersburg fans group have made an appeal to the club regarding future signings- the group want the club to only employ white and hetero-sexual players.
According to BBC sport, Zenit's largest supporters group, Landscrona, said in an open letter:
"Black players are forced down Zenit's throat and the absence of black Zenit players is just an important tradition that underlines the team's identity and nothing more."
The letter also read "Homosexuals are unworthy of this great city."
Zent manager Luciano Spalletti hit out at the fans groups appeal. "It's stupidity. Tolerance, for me, is most of all the ability to understand and accept differences".
The Italian said. "I can personally assure you that I will do everything I can to help those who seek to explain to people what tolerance is, and the need to respect other cultures and traditions.
"I think that Zenit has proven through its work that the club understands what tolerance is, and what it means to have tolerant behaviour. The team has gathered players from different countries and ethnic groups who work together to achieve a common goal."
The club have only one black player, Brazilian Striker Hulk, and they remain the only top Russian club to have never signed an African player.
They insist they don’t choose players in relation to their origin.
“Players are selected without any limitation regarding origin, religion or skin colour.” Zenit director of sports Dietmar Beiersdorfer said.
Despite the plea from the group, they insist they are trying to keep the clubs tradition and that they aren’t racists.
“We are not racists.” They say. “For us, the lack of black players at Zenit is only an important tradition, which emphasises the identity of the club and nothing more.
“As the most northern club of the major European cities, we have never been associated with Africa, South America or Australia and Oceania.
“We have absolutely nothing against the people of these and any other continent. But now black players are being imposed on Zenit almost by force.
“We only want players from brotherly Slav nations, such as Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Scandinavia. We have the same mentality and historical and cultural background as these nations."
This outcry from the supporters will turn away potential stars as the cash-rich club will look to build on the £64 million double swoop for Brazilian Hulk and Belgian Axel Witsel.
Former CSKA Moscow and Brazilian striker Vagner Love told the Brazilian daily Globo Esporte of racial abuse during his time in Russia..
"It was always during the matches against Zenit, which is the most racist team in Russia. … It's their way.
“Unfortunately, some players can't get over it, but, thank God, I never had a problem. It all went in one ear and out the other. In such situations you should never get angry, or say or do anything. Life goes on and you come on the pitch to play."
Allegations of racism are continually reported in Russia. Congolese international Christopher Samba was subject to it in March-Lokomotiv Moscow fans were subject throwing bananas at the ex-Blackburn defender.
Spartak Moscow forward Emmanuel Emenike gestured towards Dynamo Moscow fans after a tirade of abuse and was fined for his reaction to offensive chants as crowds continually get away with it as only clubs get fined.
Racism is still very much an issue in Football and greater action needs to be taken to resolve the problem.
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