Manchester City’s Yaya Toure might be, at the moment, the best all-around midfielder in the world of soccer. That status didn’t stop some CSKA Moscow fans from making monkey noises during Wednesday’s Champions League game.
Toure, an Ivory Coast international, was furious. He rightly pointed out his captain’s armband during the match featured a simple message: “No to Racism.” That message fell on deaf ears toward some members of the Russian crowd, who still think in 2013 its acceptable to try to rattle black players with monkey noises and whistles. Toure didn’t mince words and called for CSKA to be banned from the competition.
Don’t forget in late 2012 of Russia’s other prominent clubs — Zenit St. Petersburg — saw its top fan group pen a letter to management expressing their displeasure should the club sign black or gay players.
On the plus side it looks like UEFA is going to take action — who knows to what extent — into the incident even if the match official apparently ignored Toure’s pleas during the game itself.
UEFA is no stranger to forcing clubs play games behind closed doors due to racist behavior by fans, but even that doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent. If UEFA wants to get tough and stamp it out of the game — dock teams points or throw them out of the Champions League and all the money that comes with it. Fans might think twice if they know those are the stakes, but that probably won’t stop everyone. Lifetime bans for offending fans might be the only way to make some headway.
This ugly incident somehow got worse on Thursday when CSKA denied Toure’s claims. It went a step further when Toure’s Ivory Coast international teammate Seydou Doumbia said he was exaggerating.
CSKA also quoted Doumbia as saying he did not hear any racist abuse. “I didn’t hear anything like that from the CSKA fans. Yes, they’re always noisy in supporting the team, and try to put as much pressure as possible on our opponents, but they wouldn’t ever allow themselves to come out with racist chants. So my Ivory Coast colleague is clearly exaggerating.”
Of course this only points of the hypocrisy of the idiots with the racial taunting.
If you’re scoring at home Russia will host the Winter Olympics next year, which will have become controversial due to the country’s anti-gay rights. Four years later in 2018 it will host the World Cup. Here’s guessing, even with whatever steps UEFA takes, the open and virulent racism sometimes displayed inside its stadiums won’t be eradicated by then.
At least it will be better in 2022 when soccer’s biggest spectacle moves to Qatar, what with its migrate worker abuse, anti-homosexuality laws and 120 degree temperatures.
Oh wait, nevermind.