Football

Gary Lineker Calls Out FIFA Over Trivial Russia Punishment

Gary Lineker Calls Out FIFA Over Trivial Russia Punishment

Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembele and N'Golo Kante were reportedly subjected to repeated racist chanting during the France versus Russia friendly last March. Today FIFA announced the punishment the Russia FA would face; a £22,000 fine.

The game, which took place at Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg, was marred by several chants which occurred throughout. Reports emerged of monkey chants directed at the Man United star after he scored. This occurred while instead of a celebration, Pogba paid tribute to his late father, who died last year and celebrated his birthday on the day of the game. A Reuters photographer reported hearing the chants repeatedly.

FIFA released a statement confirming the fine today.

Fifa has a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination. Following a thorough investigation including the review of video evidence, after analysing all the specific circumstances of the case, in particular the gravity of the incident but also the limited number of fans involved, (Fifa has) decided that the Russian Football Union was liable for a breach of article 58.

As Gary Lineker pointed out, it sets a bizarre priority given the fines issued recently.

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It marks the latest in a series of incidents linked to Russia recently. Last month, the Russian Football Union fined two top clubs, Zenit and Spartak Moscow, for racist chants. St. Petersburg's Bryan Idowu also reported abuse he suffered while returning from training.

With a World Cup on the horizon, a lack of meaningful action could threaten the success of the tournament in every sense.

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Maurice Brosnan

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