December 12 – Already reeling from the doping scandal that has reverberated through world sport, Russian football has been hit with its latest claim of racism, this time against Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster who has alleged he was abused by a Spartak Moscow player during a UEFA Youth League game on Wednesday.
The England Under-17 international, Golden Boot winner at the Under-17 World Cup in October, was reportedly incensed after he was targeted by a Spartak defender in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory and had to be dragged away by team‑mates and staff at the end of the match.
Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out said it was “appalled” by the allegation and called for UEFA to show it was “serious” about tackling racial abuse.
“It is also extremely concerning to this organisation that yet another incident of racism has taken place involving a Russian club, particularly before the 2018 World Cup,” the organisation added.
In September, another Liverpool player, Nigeria-born forward Bobby Adekanye, was subjected to racist chants and gestures from Spartak supporters in Moscow.
UEFA charged Spartak, who had to partially close their academy stadium for their next UEFA Youth League fixture, leaving 500 seats empty.
But Kick It Out was far from satisfied. “It is clear that UEFA’s punishment of a partial stadium closure was far from sufficient to protect Liverpool’s players,” the body said.
“Kick It Out expects a swift investigation by Uefa. Should the Spartak Moscow player be found guilty, the club must receive a far stronger punishment if Europe’s governing body is truly serious about ensuring that football is an ‘#EqualGame’.
Russian World Cup organisers say they are doing their best to ensure the tournament remains free of discrimination but doubts still linger over whether inbred cultures can be changed in time.
“Players and supporters have been told on several occasions by the Russian Football Association that racism is not a serious problem in Russian football,” said Kick It Out. “However, incidents such as these undermine any confidence black and minority ethnic footballers or supporters will have in their ability to attend the World Cup in Russia without suffering racial abuse.”
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