The Russian league is growing stronger every day. It’s new money, has lead to more famous players, and more European competitiveness. All this (and the big contracts) have tempted many players who could still be playing at the big Euro clubs, to join.
One of those players is Christopher Samba, after he joined Anzhi in February. But Samba’s time in Russia has turned sour awful quickly, after being the victim of a racist incident last week.
Samba had a banana thrown at him by fans of Lokomotiv Moscow. These are the same fans who hung this banner about Peter Odewingie.
Perhaps even more worrying than these fans actions however is the authorities reactions. The Lokomotiv authorities said previously of the Odemwingie banner
“I know that this banner applied to a certain player and to the manner of how he played in his last matches,”
said Russian World cup organizer Sorokin.
“Apparently fans were not happy with the fact that he plays better for Nigeria and worse for the club. That’s why they have shown their satisfaction after he left. And there is nothing racial in it.
“If there would be another player – from Russia, Denmark, Norway or Japan, for example – the reaction could be the same.
In Russia ‘to get a banana’ means ‘to fail a test somewhere’.
Whilst initially Lokomotiv were also dismissive of this new incident, until the RFA put pressure on them.
The English game is not without its own racial issues, but the Russian league may find it difficult to reach their aims of becoming one of the world’s big leagues unless they tackle the fans behaviour. Will this mean ethnic players will stop moving to Russia?
No, of course not, but it may make them hesitant, especially if they have options of moving somewhere else.
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