Russian soccer faces racism scandal over monkey chants toward French players

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Soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, leveled charges of fan racism against World Cup host Russia on Tuesday.

The charges come in response to the alleged actions of Russian supporters during the country’s 3-1 defeat to France in St. Petersburg in March, a non-competitive game that was marred by reports of racist chanting against black French players.

Monkey chants could be heard being directed at members of the French team in the latest set of allegations, the noises picked up by television cameras and reported by photographers at the side of the pitch.

“Disciplinary actions have been opened against the Russian Football Union (RFU) for this incident,” a FIFA statement read.

Russia, and in particular St. Petersburg, has a murky modern history when it comes to inappropriate fan behavior. Prominent Russian Premier League club Zenit St. Petersburg has twice been charged in relation to racist fan behavior this season.

In November, fans flew a banner lauding war criminal Ratko Mladic during its game against a Macedonian team. In a subsequent game against RB Leipzig, there were allegations that a black player had been targeted for abuse.

In 2012, the Landskrona group, an extremist segment of Zenit’s supporter base, published a “manifesto” demanding that the club’s hierarchy refrain from signing any gay or non-white players.

St. Petersburg Stadium will be used to stage several prominent World Cup games, including matches featuring Russia, Brazil and Argentina, as well as a semifinal. The tournament starts on June 14.

Source :

USA Today

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