Sunday 22 April 2018

Russian club Spartak Moscow condemned over 'racist tweet'

Spartak Moscow are at the centre of a racism row after their official Twitter account posted a video of three black players in training alongside a caption which translates as "See how chocolates melt in the sun".

The message was accompanied by several emojis of laughing faces and chocolate bars above a 13-second clip showing the players, reported to be Brazilian trio Fernando, Luiz Adriano and Pedro Rocha, smiling while stretching in sunny conditions.

The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out condemned the Russian club, writing a response on Twitter which read: "This social media post from the official account of Spartak Moscow only continues to highlight the prejudices towards black people in Russia.

"It is a reminder, that along with the whole of football, there is significant work to do to eradicate racism of all forms from the sport."

Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, believes the message from Spartak is troubling as Russia builds towards hosting the World Cup later this year.

He told BBC Sport: "Racism is one of the biggest issues Russia faces in the year they host the World Cup. References like this show how some minorities are seen by some in the country.

"For Russia's biggest club to tolerate and then celebrate racist references of this kind is wrong."

The controversial Twitter post was later deleted from Spartak's official page.

It is the third time in a matter of months Spartak have been embroiled in a controversy over racism.

They were ordered to partially close their academy stadium for one fixture by UEFA, which found some of the club's fans were guilty of racist behaviour towards Liverpool striker Bobby Adekanye during a Youth League match in September.

Last month, Spartak defender Leonid Mironov was charged with racially abusing Reds striker Rhian Brewster following an incident during the return UEFA Youth League clash between the sides at Prenton Park.

Press Association

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