FIFA to probe alleged Russian racism during France friendly
Last Updated: 28/03/18 4:12pm
FIFA has opened an investigation into alleged racist abuse aimed at France players, including Paul Pogba, by Russian fans.
A pitch-side photographer reported that monkey chants could be heard from the crowd in St. Petersburg during France's 3-1 win over Russia.
The abuse was also allegedly audible on a television broadcast after Pogba scored France's second goal.
The game's world governing body said on Wednesday that it was collecting evidence and would contact the anti-discrimination Fare Network, which helps FIFA investigate racism cases.
"FIFA is collecting the different match reports and potential evidence in regards to the discriminatory incident reported in the media," a FIFA statement said.
"Until we have evaluated all information available, we cannot comment further."
Earlier, Piara Powar, head of the anti-discrimination group Fare Network, said: "There should be enough there for FIFA to initiate proceedings.
"If photographers heard it pitch-side, then there must have been stewards and other officials who also heard it.
"If, toward the end of March, these guys don't know what to do, and they're not initiating procedures and protocols that exist, then that doesn't bode very well for the World Cup.
"So close to the World Cup, questions are being asked as to why it wasn't dealt with as it occurred during play."
French sports minister Laura Flessel also called for action. In a post on Twitter, she wrote: "Racism has no place on the soccer field. We should act together at a European and international level in order to stop this intolerable behaviour."
« Le racisme n’a pas sa place sur les terrains de football. Nous devons agir de concert au niveau européen et international afin de faire cesser ces comportements inadmissibles » #FRARUS #exaequo.— Laura Flessel (@FlesselLaura) March 28, 2018
Crédits FFF/ Bastien Lheritier. pic.twitter.com/kRB1fbBNjO