World News

Football official jokes about racist incidents

Source: RIA Novosti | Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Christopher Samba

Christopher Samba

The Russian football official responsible for fans’ behaviour has joked about the country’s record on racism, saying that bananas such as those thrown at black players in recent incidents “always make you happy”, in comments at a press conference Tuesday.

Fans have thrown bananas at Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos and Congolese defender Christopher Samba, both Anzhi players, at Russian Premier League games this season.

“It’s true that they give out bananas to the players, and to the match delegates, and to the referees," the Russian Premier League director of security, Alexander Meitin, said.

"They give them bananas, a nutritious fruit, obviously. And generally a yellow fruit, it always makes you happy.”

He also joked that bananas were now banned for all fans, “even in the VIP areas,” an apparent reference to an incident where a banana was thrown at Samba from the executive seats of Lokomotiv Moscow’s ground.

Meitin’s brief as director of security covers fans’ behavior, including racist incidents.

In the last two months, the Russian Football Union has forced second-tier side Torpedo Moscow to play three home games behind closed doors after repeated racist incidents.

In another case, Spartak Moscow are appealing against sanctions placed on their Nigerian striker Emmanuel Emenike, who received a fine and a suspended season-long ban earlier this month after showing the middle finger to Dynamo Moscow fans who, he said, had shouted racist insults at him.

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