Torpedo face partial stadium closure after fans racist abuse of Christopher Samba
Russian club Torpedo Moscow must close a section of their stadium for their next match following racist abuse aimed at Dynamo Moscow’s Christopher Samba.
On Tuesday (23 September) it was revealed that ex-Blackburn Rovers captain Samba, 30, asked not to play in the second half of Monday’s Moscow derby because of the chants.
Russian Football Union (RFU) ruled on Thursday (25 September) Torpedo must shut the ‘fan’s sector’ for their next league match.
However, all other parts of the Saturn Stadium will remain open.
The ‘fans’ sector’ is the part of the arena where the most active fans of the home team sit. There are no restrictions in place to prevent those supporters from buying tickets to sit elsewhere in the stadium. Away fans will not be affected.
After the RFU’s ruling, head of the disciplinary committee Artur Grigoryants said: “There was a note in the delegate’s report that throughout the first half there were chants directed at FC Dynamo player Christopher Samba.
“The delegate has confirmed it once again at the meeting. The referee of the match has also informed the committee that Samba told him about chanting during the first corner kick.
“Samba has also sent a letter to the disciplinary committee where he confirmed the chanting and that he appealed to the referee during the game.”
On Tuesday, Dynamo vice-president Gennady Soloviev revealed: “Samba felt offended with Torpedo fans and didn’t want to go on the pitch for the second half… that’s why he was replaced.”
Dynamo won the game 3-1 and manager Stanislav Cherchesov said afterwards that Samba had been substituted because of a calf injury.
The defender spent six years at Blackburn, making 185 appearances between 2006 and 2012. The Congo international left for Anzhi Makhachkala but returned to England in January 2013 to play 10 games in a loan spell with QPR.
It is the second racist incident involving Samba after a fan in Moscow threw a banana at him in March 2012 while the defender was playing for Makhachkala. Samba picked up the banana and threw it back into the stands.
Russia, which will host the 2018 World Cup, has had several instances of racism in the sport in recent years.
Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos was racially abused twice in Russia while also playing for Anzhi. Both incidents happened in 2011 – in St Petersburg and Samara, which are World Cup host cities. St Petersburg is also among the cities that have been selected to host Euro 2020 matches, including a quarter-final.
In October 2013 Russian champions CSKA Moscow were punished by European governing body Uefa with the partial closure of their stadium in a Champions League match, following racist chanting directed at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said at a handover ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, before the World Cup final in July, that he hoped the World Cup would help Russia in its fight against racism.
“Fifa President Sepp Blatter puts a lot of personal effort into addressing social issues, and we hope that the preparations for the World Cup in Russia will also contribute to tasks such as fighting drugs, racism and other challenges we face today,” Putin said.
From BBC Sport