Zenit St Petersburg player racially abused during league game
“We’re there to play regardless of colour. You can be black, white, blue or yellow. We’re the same, we’re all flesh and blood and if you prick the skin we all bleed. So this is it, the differences don’t exist and this prejudice shouldn’t exist.”
Reuters and other news agencies have reported that Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk has experienced racism from Spartak Moscow fans during a Russia Premier League game at the weekend.
The Brazil international told a Russia newspaper (Sport Express) that he could hear the racist abuse from opposition supporters.
“During the game, racist abuse was directed towards me from the Spartak section of the ground.
“In the first half I clearly heard monkey chants shouted in my direction and this was not only on one occasion. It was coming from a large group of people. This happened at least twice – midway through the first half and during injury time at the end of the first half.
"I take this as a personal insult for me and my club. I think that such things have absolutely no place and the football powers-that-be must take action in the fight against the occurrence of racial hatred."
Russian Football Union (RFS) disciplinary committee chief Artur Grigoryants confirmed that racial abuse had taken place before the panel announced a relatively light punishment against Spartak Moscow later on Wednesday.
"We have a video of the match... in the 24th minute and in the 45th minute, monkey chanting can be heard being directed at Hulk," Grigoryants said.
"The monkey chants came from the visitors' section of the ground. The match delegate did not hear them during the game, but only afterwards, when he re-watched it."
The RFS have since banned Spartak Moscow supporters from attending the club's next away game at Ural Yekaterinenburg on Oct. 19.
This is the second racist incident in Russian Football over the last week. Just the weekend before Hulk heard these chants, Christopher Samba experienced racist abuse during another league game playing for Dynamo Moscow against Torpedo Moscow.
International Players’ Union FIFPro spoke to us about the situation.
“Sad to hear that just days after the infamous incident with Christopher Samba, some football spectators in Russia have once again tarnished the reputation of their country’s game”, said Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokeperson on anti-racism.
“Apparently players such as Hulk, Samba and other black footballers, still have to fear the abuse by fans whose moral standards are far from those of the civilized football fans who do realise, that in the 21st century racism belongs neither in football, nor in society.”
“We – FIFPro – hope that things will change before the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia.”
In an interview with Daily Motion back in 2012, Hulk responded to the news that a section of Zenit St Petersburg fans issued an extraordinary open letter complaining about the signing of black players.
At the time Hulk said “We’re there to play regardless of colour. You can be black, white, blue or yellow. We’re the same, we’re all flesh and blood and if you prick the skin we all bleed. So this is it, the differences don’t exist and this prejudice shouldn’t exist.”