Kick it out in 2018

Racism has been a major problem in Russia and the country has failed to do enough to curb this issue. Incidents about fans vocally humiliating their own players have taken place in this part of the world, but Fifa have not been undeterred in their decision to offer the country the right to host the World Cup 2018. Concerns about racism have taken precedence in recent months and they have not been helped by the recent issues surrounding Emmanuel Frimpong. In a recent game against Spartak Moscow, the player was sent off for reacting to a racist abuse.

Rather than prevent racist abuse from the terraces, the Russian football Federation has suspended the player for two matches. Yuri Boychenko, who is one of the top UN officials in charge of the antidiscrimination section, says that the authorities should be doing more in order to prevent such incidents from tarnishing the reputation of the country. FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently expressed his confidence that Russia will be able to hold a fantastic World Cup, but concerns about the visiting fans has grown already. Several African and Asian fans have travelled to support their teams in previous editions, but the World Cup 2018 is expected to witness a drop in this aspect.

“I don’t think there is a total denial of racism in Russia but there is certainly a lack of understanding by officials in Russia of what racism is. The authorities here should do more to stop it. Too often, officials in Russia only see the problem from their point of view. They do not stand inside the shoes of the victim and see it from his point of view. I believe the recognition is coming. It’s a behavioural problem and a societal problem, indeed in Russia there is no clear understanding of what racism means,” said Boychenko.