MOSCOW, September 17 (R-Sport) – The president of Russian football club Terek Grozny says a $30 fine for a fan who set fire to a Chechen flag at a game last weekend is so paltry that it amounts to tacit encouragement of desecrating state symbols.
Several people were detained over the incident in the stands during the second half of Terek's 2-0 loss to Zenit St. Petersburg at the Petrovsky Stadium in the northern city.
But only one fan was charged, receiving a 1,000 ruble fine for petty hooliganism.
"We understand that the judge acted in accordance with the law," Magomed Daudov said in comments posted on his club's website. "But the laws look strange when they allow for the public desecration of state symbols of the subjects of the federation and practically get off scot-free," he said.
"And why did only one hooligan appear in the dock when in photographs a whole group of individuals is clearly visible? Next time they will burn 10 flags to show off to their peers and make the newspapers."
The incident highlighted the ethnic tensions that pervade Russia and the testy relationship of the southern, chiefly Muslim provinces like Chechnya with the rest of the country.
Zenit fans in particular face persistent criticism over their behavior, periodically accused of racism and homophobia.
Zenit was handed a 3-0 technical defeat by the Russian FA last season, when a flare thrown onto the pitch from their fan sector injured Dynamo Moscow goalkeeper Anton Shunin.
Later, a predominant Zenit fan club issued a statement calling for an outright ban on signing black or gay players. Zenit has denied running a policy against acquiring black players.