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Russia Sports Minister: Racism Issue 'Not Hopeless'

© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankVitaly Mutko
Vitaly Mutko - Sputnik International
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Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told RIA Novosti on Thursday he doesn't view the country's problems with racism in football as hopeless.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told RIA Novosti on Thursday he doesn't view the country's problems with racism in football as hopeless.

Russian football has been blighted by isolated yet persistent episodes of racism in recent years, including the throwing of bananas at dark-skinned players such as Anzhi pair Roberto Carlos and Christopher Samba.

The issue became more acute for Russia after it was granted hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup.

"I don't see any hopelessness in it [the situation]," Mutko said. "The process of preparing for the World Cup will force through solutions to these problems."

"Fans, cities, stadiums and society will all get involved, ... and the championship itself, in the course of its preparations, will try to solve these issues one by one."

Mutko threw his weight behind an anti-racism program unveiled this week by Spartak Moscow owner Leonid Fedun.

"I agree with Fedun that clubs should take an active position. They shouldn't shout at someone: 'Hey you, officials, solve this problem, pass some law or something!' You write the laws, you study the experience," Mutko advised the Russian Premier League clubs.

Fedun said he was unveiling an anti-xenophobia program "aimed at instilling a good atmosphere in the stands."

The Spartak owner spoke after the club's Nigerian striker Emanuel Emenike showed the middle finger to Dynamo fans whom he accused of racist chanting during the Muscovites' 3-1 league win last month.

 

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