Yaya: Boycott the World Cup

Yaya Toure believes black players could boycott the 2018 World Cup unless Russia addresses racism in the stands.

Last Updated: 25/10/13 at 13:58 Post Comment

Yaya Toure: Manchester City midfielder in action in Moscow on Tueday night

Yaya Toure: Manchester City midfielder in action in Moscow on Tueday night

Toure was the target of monkey chants during Manchester City's 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.

UEFA have subsequently opened disciplinary proceedings against CSKA for the behaviour of their fans at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, although the club denies there was any racism.

The City skipper has now warned that black players may boycott the World Cup - which Russia will host for the first time in 2018 - unless the authorities take action.

"If we are not confident coming to the World Cup in Russia, we don't come," Toure said. "I don't know why it happens in football. I don't know why you don't get something like this in rugby or handball or any other sport.

"If UEFA don't take action it will continue. A couple of months ago my friend played with Milan and he had the same problem.

"I hope they do something - ban the club or the stadium for two years. The club may say they have to educate the fans but it's not enough. Too much is too much. We have to stop it now."

CSKA are adamant that Toure is mistaken. In a statement the club said: "Having carefully studied the video of the game, we found no racist insults from the fans of CSKA.

"On many occasions fans booed and whistled to put pressure on rival players but regardless of race.

"In particular this happened with Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko. Why the Ivorian midfielder took it as being directed at him is not clear."

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE and a FIFA anti-discrimination task force member, said Toure was right to raise the issue of a World Cup boycott.

Powar said: "Yaya Toure is absolutely right in raising the spectre of African players or players of African heritage not going to the 2018 World Cup - and without them there will not be a World Cup in Russia.

"I wouldn't blame them - in this era players are the most powerful force and if all the players said they are not going there wouldn't be a World Cup, or if there was it would be meaningless."

Racist behaviour

UEFA confirmed on Thursday that CSKA had a case to answer following the events of Wednesday evening.

A statement from UEFA read: "Proceedings have been opened against CSKA Moscow for racist behaviour of their fans (article 14 of the UEFA disciplinary regulations) and for setting off of fireworks (article 16) at last night's UEFA Champions League group stage match in Moscow against Manchester City.

"The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on 30 October."

Toure spoke to the referee and City officials spoke to UEFA's match delegate after the match at the Arena Khimki, with the club making a written complaint on their return to Manchester.

Toure told Sky Sports: "I told the ref. I think it was unbelievable and very sad. We want to stop that.

"I think UEFA have to do a lot to try to stop it. Maybe close the stadium for a couple of games. As an African player, it is always sad when you hear something like that.

"For me, as captain, I was wearing an armband which said 'no to racism' and I was totally disappointed.

"It's stupid these people. I don't know, it just happens in football. It's unbelievable. They're stupid, they're just stupid. UEFA has to take action to right it otherwise I think they will just continue."

The Kick It Out anti-racism campaign backed Toure's stand.

The campaign group said: "First and foremost the support of Kick It Out is with Yaya and everyone associated with the club.

"He has been brave and proactive not only by speaking out after the game, but by reporting it to the referee too. It was the referee's role to then stop the game which would have dealt with the problem instantly. This was a key failing of last night.

"When abuse is officially logged like this, the offending club should be charged and an automatic partial stadium closure by UEFA can be explored. A second offence could mean a full stadium closure.

"Things are not perfect in this country. But this type of abuse is a depressing throwback and raises questions around the suitability of Russia as World Cup hosts."

So far this season, UEFA has imposed full stadium bans on three clubs - Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia, Legia Warsaw of Poland and Honved of Hungary - for racist behaviour by their supporters while five other clubs have had partial stadium closures.

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