(WFI) FIFA is investigating possible racist chants against French players at the Saint Petersburg stadium during the France-Russia friendly game last Tuesday.
According to reports in the French media, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba – who scored one goal and assisted another in France’s victory 3-1- and Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele were targeted by monkey chants from a section of the stands.
Russian authorities say they will also look into the matter.
“If violations did take place we will resort to all the necessary measures,” Russia’s anti-discrimination chief Alexei Smertin told TASS news agency.
Fifa says its probe is based among other on the report of the representantive of The FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network present at the match. In the past, according to French reports, FARE pointed out close to 90 incidents of racism and extremist incidente in the Russian league last season
Piara Powar, head of the organisation, has said to the BBC “This is a cause for concern, just over two months before the tournament, with no response from the stadium authorities after what looked to be a major incident.”
With the World Cup only a few months away, concerns have returned that blatant racist acts could be on display when the footballing world descends on Russia.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has pointed out before that officials can stop or abandon matches at the World Cup if racism occurs.
This is the third recent racism controversy at the Saint Petersburg stadium which will host several games during the next FIFA World cup including one of the semifinals of the tournament.
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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