World Cup 2018: Russia & Fifa blamed for not stopping rise in abusive chants


Russia’s football union and Fifa have been blamed by equality campaigners for not acting on a rise in abusive chants at Russian games before the World Cup.

Anti-discriminatory body Fare detailed the increase in a report, from data collected over the past year.

Campaign group Kick It Out wants Fifa to act against racist and homophobic abuse in Russian football.

It warned a lack of action “will leave BAME and LGBT supporters, players and staff vulnerable to abuse this summer”.

Russia will host the World Cup, which runs from 14 June to 15 July.

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The Fare report said that the total number of discriminatory incidents inside Russian stadiums has gone down for the third year in a row – with far fewer far-right banners being displayed.

But although there are fewer banners, there have been more abusive chants – which Fare said indicated “deeply rooted issues and a lack of educational and preventative efforts by Russian clubs”.

Fare’s concerns include:

  • A total of 19 incidents of abusive chanting taking place during the 2017-18 season compared with two the previous campaign.
  • The Russian Football Union’s disciplinary committee giving two-match bans to players and coaches who reacted to being abused by racist chants.
  • Several cases of racist comments being made by players, club management teams and the media.
  • An attack on a group of students from Iraq by fans in Orel.

Piara Powar, executive director of the Fare network, said: “There are reasons to hope that the World Cup authorities will not allow serious violent incidents to take place by using all the resources of law enforcement agencies and special services.

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“However, the football authorities in Russia and Fifa have missed valuable opportunities and time to deliver lasting change in Russia.”

 



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