The RFU Disciplinary Committee said on Wednesday they found no evidence of racism and subsequently suspended the player for two matches for raising a finger to the crowd in response to the abuse.
At the launch of the FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy, held in St. Petersburg on 23 July, Federico Addiechi, head of the organisation’s sustainability, said the Russians have been given until Tuesday to respond to the governing body’s disciplinary department.
“We don’t have a direct responsibility for what’s happening in the Russian league,” Addiechi said. “But if the Russian Football Union are in need of our support, and I think they are, then we can provide certain support.
“It is up to us as the organisers of this event to make sure this event is welcoming everyone, it is safe for everyone — not just for the players and participants but also for the fans,
“But, it would be naive and first of all too arrogant for us to come here and say we are going to educate Russia. We are in no position to do that, we don’t need to do that, we have no moral statute to do that either.”
At the event, Yuri Boychenko, head of the Anti-Discrimination Section at the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, said: “I don’t think there is a total denial of racism in Russia but there is certainly a lack of understanding by officials in Russia of what racism is,
“The authorities here should do more to stop it. Too often, officials in Russia only see the problem from their point of view. They do not stand inside the shoes of the victim and see it from his point of view.”
Boychenko said he believed the authorities were beginning to recognise there was an issue.
“I believe the recognition is coming,” he said. “It’s a behavioural problem and a societal problem, indeed in Russia there is no clear understanding of what racism means.
“It’s not black and white and white and black only; it’s about the issue of ethnicities, religious affiliation, culture, language and so forth.”
Russian Premier League support RFU decision
Following the RFU Disciplinary Committee decision over the Frimpong incident, the Russian Premier League security director Alexander Meytin said in an interview that the Premier League had also not found any evidence of Spartak Moscow fans racially abusing Frimpong.
“The video cameras did not pick up any evidence of gestures. There were no gestures aimed at the footballer,” Meytin said in an interview with Russian sports website Championat.com.
‘It is beyond a joke’ says Frimpong
The 23-year-old Ghanian player reacted writing on Twitter: “We live in a crazy world,
“For the Russian FA to say they didn’t hear or see any evidence of racism is beyond a joke.”
On 17 July around the 29th minute of the first Russian Premier League match of the season, between Ufa and Spartak Moscow, monkey chants were directed at Frimpong. A video of the incident shows the racist abuse and the player being sent-off for reacting to it.
In a series of tweets the player apologised for his actions and said: “Want to apologise for the sending off after being provoked shouldn’t have happened but also am a human being shouldn’t be racially abused for the game that I love.
“Fantastic result to draw with Spartak proud of team and I’m going to serve a sentence for being abused … and yet we going to hold a World Cup in this country where African[s] will have to come play football.
Hulk claims racism in ‘almost every game’
Following the incident, Zenit St Petersburg Brazilian international Hulk spoke out about racism in Russian football and saying he encounters racism in “almost every game”.
Hulk, the most expensive signing in Russian Premier League history, has repeatedly faced monkey chants in Russia and also accused a referee of racially abusing him.
“If [racism] happens in the World Cup, it will be really gross and really ugly. Usually it happens when Russian clubs play and it doesn’t come out to the world and the world doesn’t know about this,” said the 28 year-old player.
“I must say that almost every game I see this happening. I used to get angry, but now I see this doesn’t help, so I just send a kiss to our fans and try not to get angry.”
Hulk was supposed to participate in tomorrow’s World Cup draw in St Petersburg but FIFA said today the Brazilian had been replaced due to “club commitments” with Zenit, who will visit Ural Yekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League on Sunday, and will be replaced by former Russia captain Alexey Smertin as one of the draw assistants.
Days after the Russian Premier League incident, another controversy hit Russian football, this time regarding a Russian Premier League beauty pageant.
Every year the Russian Premier League (RPL) organises a beauty pageant for female fans of the sixteen clubs in the league. Fans of the different clubs select between several female supporters, which will compete for the title of ‘Miss RFPL’.
This year CSKA Moscow representative Olga Kuzkova won the Miss Charm title, but reports have linked Kuzkova to far-right groups. Kuzkova has been stripped of her coveted title after being exposed as a neo-Nazi on her social network account by the anti-discrimination fan group CSKA Fans Against Racism.