By David Gold in MoscowJune 25 - Alexander Zorkov, the deputy general secretary of the Russian Football Union (RFU), described the incident this week when a banana was thrown at Anzhi Makhachkala's legendary Brazilian full back Roberto Carlos as an "awful, terrible incident".
Published on Saturday, 25 June 2011 15:48
It was the second time in his short spell in Russian football that Carlos has been subjected to such racism, having had a banana offered to him as he took to the pitch for his debut against Zenit St. Petersburg in March, which saw Zenit being fined $10,000 after the incident.
Following the incident on Wednesday (June 22), when Anzhi cruised to a 3-0 win away to Krylya Sovetov, Carlos walked off the pitch in protest.
Fears of racism had overshadowed Russia's successful campaign to host the 2018 World Cup.
"We've taken some strict measures against the clubs and the supporters," Zorkov told insideworldfootball
at the inaugural Inside World Football Forum here yesterday.
"It was an awful, terrible incident which does not show Russian football in a positive way."
The latest incident comes in the same week that riot police were accused by Zenit of tasering Serbian forward Danko Lazovic with an electric baton as he threw his shirt into the crowd after a game against Volga Nizhny Novgorod.
Russian Premier League executive director Sergei Cheban told insideworldfootball
that the fact that the fan was in the centre of the stadium, where so called "ultras" usually would not be sitting, took authorities by surprise.
"The man who shot John Lennon did it to become famous, and some people have these complexes who want to attract attention to themselves, and there are always one or two of them in Russian football," said Cheban.
"This man was from the central stand not normally visited by radical fans so no-one expected him to throw a banana from there."
A new licensing system for Russia's Premier League clubs, brought in this season, means that they must have modern video cameras installed in their stadia, and as a result the individual guilty of Wednesday's incident was quickly identified and arrested.
The Russian football authorities are determined to take on and defeat racism in the country, and believe that changes in their approach to tackling such behaviour will prove successful in the years to come.
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