Toure warns of possible 2018 boycott over racism

Eurosport

Yaya Toure has suggested black players may stage a boycott at the 2018 World Cup in Russia unless the country tackles racism in football.

The Manchester City midfielder complained of being racially abused by some home fans during his side's Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

The incident prompted Toure to call for strong sanctions to be meted out by UEFA, including a possible stadium closure. The Ivorian has since reinforced his strong standpoint by suggesting black players could even refuse to play at the World Cup, to be hosted by Russia in 2018.

"If we aren't confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia, we don't come," the Ivorian midfielder was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.

UEFA have charged CSKA with racist behaviour and are investigating the claims further.

The club, meanwhile, deny the allegations and said they were "surprised and disappointed" by Toure's allegations.

A club statement read: "Having carefully studied the video of the game, we found no racist insults from fans of CSKA."
That view was also aired by CSKA coach Leonid Slutski immediately after the match, while CSKA later released a statement from their Ivorian forward Seydou Doumbia who said his countryman Toure was "clearly exaggerating".

Despite the denials emanating from Russia, Piara Powar, an executive director of European anti-discrimination body Football Against Racism in Europe, backed Toure over his World Cup calls.

He told the BBC: "Yaya Toure is absolutely right in raising the spectre of African players or players of African heritage not going to the 2018 World Cup - and without them there will not be a World Cup in Russia.

"I wouldn't blame them - in this era players are the most powerful force and if all the players said they are not going there wouldn't be a World Cup, or if there was it would be meaningless.

"In terms of the number of black players being abused, that is happening in club football in Russia and in that regard the situation is dire," Powar added.

The case against CSKA will be heard on October 30 by UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body.

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