December 1 – Russian World Cup chief Vitaly Mutko has insisted there will be no discrimination against gender preference at the tournament despite fears that the spectre of homophobia and racism could deter some supporters from travelling to the country.
Although Russian football continues to be marked by incidents of black players being targeted from the stands, Mutko claims these are few and far between.
“Liverpool and Manchester United recently visited (in the Champions League) and it was all quiet,” Mutko told reporters. “Russia has 180 nationalities and four different religions. Racism is a global problem and not specific to one country. Are we going to solve things here when they are being ignored elsewhere?”
Mutko said Russia “would do everything” to put on a successful tournament. “Every team will feel at home, I promise, in terms of security and logistical services.”
Fans will enjoy visa-free access and free transportation between host cities and, says Mutko, tolerance.
“Let me say once again we are an open country. All nationalities will be welcomed, all religions, all attitudes. We have always provided those guarantees.”
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