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Racism in Russia isn't a problem, according to Vitaly Mutko

NOT CONCERNED: Vitaly Mutko

RUSSIA'S 2018 World Cup chief, Vitaly Mutko, has insisted that the country has no 'big problem' with racism, despite a report this week which shows there were 89 racist or far-right incidents at games in the country during the last domestic season.

Vitaly Mutko, former minister of sport, said ahead of the Confederations Cup which starts on Saturday, that Russia was 'an open, democratic state... we have a lot of foreign players in different clubs' and that racism 'is not a problem that is Russian'.

According to the Daily Mail, his comments contradicted an anti-racism group's report 48 hours earlier which detailed incidents including an African player complaining of racist abuse by an opponent during a Russian Premier League game and a hardline fan group segregating part of a stadium for people of 'Slavic appearance'.

In addition to this, fans of Russian champion Spartak Moscow flew anti-Semitic banners, and FIFA clearly believe there could be a racism problem.

In order to avoid racist incidence at the Confederations Cup, observers will be positioned around the tournament's four venues to detect racism. Under a new three-step procedure, referees will stop the match and order a public announcement demanding racist behaviour stops, then suspend the match after another warning before abandoning it altogether. Russia, which is desperate to send out a positive image for the dry run of the World Cup, said it welcomed FIFA's new system.

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