Black players of the French national football team were subjected to monkey chants during a friendly match between France and Russia in Saint Petersburg raising concerns about the upcoming 2018 World Cup.
The incident further raises concerns that 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is likely to be marred by racial attacks and a host of other hate crimes, motivated by Islamaphobia and anti-semitism, emanating from the rich presence of Neo-Nazism and ultra-nationalism from the Russian football fraternity.
Monkey chants were directed at French players, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba, from Russian national football team supporters. The incident prompted widespread protest from around the world and a mini Twitter storm.
French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said something must be done at the international level to stop this sort of incident from happening.
“Racism has no place on the football pitch,” said Laura Flessel. We have to take action together on a European and international level to bring an end to this inadmissible behaviour”.
ProBonoMatters’ spokesperson said the incident vindicates the organisations position that FIFA and its partners have not done enough to ensure that the footballing game is cleansed from hate crimes. ProBonoMatters is an African answer to the persistence of racism in the game of football. The organisation has set out a campaign to monitor racism in the football game in the run up to the 2018 World Cup tournament and beyond.
We are of the view that the incident was serious enough for the referee to trigger FIFA’s 3-step procedure of tackling racism during a game: How it works. “But than we are not surprised that nothing happened because we have always maintained that FIFA has not been diligent in dealing with the problem of racism in and around the game of football,” said the ProBonoMatters spokesperson.
And the response from Russian authorities is appalling, said the ProBonoMatters’ spokesperson.
The head of the Russian Football Union’s security committee Vladimir Markin was quoted saying “If this information is confirmed, then of course we will study both the video replay and everything else that happened around the match.”
And FIFA said it closely monitoring the situation in Russia.
What is there to monitor and study when you can just replay a video clip, asked the ProBonoMatters spokesperson.