After Racist Chanting, Russian Soccer Fans Get Punishment They Deserve


The news: Soccer continues to foster some of the ugliest racism in professional sports.

The most recent case is in Russia, where the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is disciplining CKSA Moscow from the Champions League after fans committed a "series of offenses including racist chanting," according to BBC. Manchester City's Yaya Toure claims that he was on the receiving end of this racist treatment last year.

UEFA is punishing CSKA by making them play in a near-empty stadium for three of their home matches, including one on Tuesday against Manchester City.

Ivan Sekretarev/AP

This display of racism by Russian fans is especially concerning considering the country will be hosting the 2018 World Cup.

"This issue is bigger than this match."

Piara Power, a member of FIFA's Anti-Discrimination Task Force, told Reuters, "It is an absolute possibility that we will have a strong, confident African team that will say, 'we are not taking this, we are leaving regardless of what is at stake — this issue is bigger than this match.'"

There's a larger problem at hand. Racist actions by unruly fans continue to be a major talking point in the world's most popular sport.

Earlier this year in a match in Spain, FC Barcelona defender Dani Alves experienced this extreme racism himself.

After a fan threw a banana as part of a joke, Alves took it in stride by making it a mid-match snack before his corner kick.

Unfortunately, FIFA has not stepped up. The organization continually displays a lack of administrative control surrounding these issues. They launched a PR campaign against racism, but have yet to be active in combatting the issue, even on the sport's biggest stage.

FIFA continues to be an enabler or even culprit surrounding issues like racism, sexism, and poor working conditions in stadium construction.

And while UEFA's three-match fan ban for Moscow's soccer club is a step in the right direction, it isn't happening enough. FIFA must take a firm stand against bigoted fans if it wants to have a meaningful impact. 

Maybe then, racists fans will stop acting up during games and behaving like wild animals.