October 16 – Former Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure says next year’s World Cup in Russia could be a watershed in FIFA’s efforts to stamp out racism.
Toure was the subject of racist chants when his Manchester City team played CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in 2013 and is offering to help FIFA and the Russian government tackle the problem in the build-up to next summer’s tournament.
“We have to see change because people have been talking but nothing has really been taken care of,” said Toure who has taken part in a short film supporting a campaign tackling discrimination in football.
Russian World Cup organisers have appointed former Chelsea forward Alexey Smertin as their anti-racism and discrimination inspector. Smertin insists racism will not be a problem at the 2018 finals and Toure hopes he is right.
“If racism situations are going to be involved then it is going to be a big mess,” said Toure. “Everyone is talking about Russia maybe being a little bit difficult. But I hope that Russia surprises everybody by trying to make something very nice.”
Toure, who speaks Russian, added: “I want to say to FIFA and to the government in Russia as well that if you need me I can help. I don’t want to be involved in only talking. I want to see action and people be real. These things are very important for the future of football.”
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