Monkey screams during Russia-France: it’s a mess, just a few months before the World Cup-2018
French striker Ousmane Dembélé faces Russia in a friendly match on 27 March 2018 in Saint Petersburg
A cries of monkey heard in a friendly against the French team on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, and here is Russia again singled out for the racism present in his stands, less than three months of the Cup world (June 14-July 15) that she organizes.
. “Inadmissible behavior”
“Is it me where we hear screams of monkey when Pogba touches the ball?” Several French Twitter users had the same words in the 73rd minute of the friendly match between Russia and France, won by the latter Tuesday (3-1) in St. Petersburg.
The characteristic onomatopoeia were indeed perfectly audible, for a moment, during the retransmission of the meeting by TF1. In addition to Pogba, the French striker Ousmane Dembélé was targeted by cries of monkey when shooting two corners, noted an AFP photographer during the meeting.
The stadium in St. Petersburg had already been the scene of “racist behavior”, according to UEFA terminology, in a Europa League match on 15 March between Zenit and RB Leipzig. The case is to be heard by UEFA’s disciplinary body on 31 May.
“Racism has no place on football fields and we need to act together at European and international level to stop this unacceptable behavior,” French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said on her Twitter account on Wednesday. .
. Active Federation
The players concerned did not react after the match, in front of the press or on social networks, and the press officer of the French team Philippe Tournon told AFP “to have nothing heard from the sideline, and then between the players in the locker room. ”
Present in the stands on Tuesday, Ronan Evain, president of the European network of football supporters Football Supporters Europe (FSE), did not hear either cries of monkey, as “many, many other observers”. “It seems like a relatively isolated incident,” he told AFP. “When 200 people do it in a stadium, it’s very easy to identify.”
The services of the Russian Federation (RFU) have also not “heard anything or recorded of this type,” said his head of the security department Alexei Tolkatchiov interviewed by Sport Express.
But “if this information is confirmed, we will of course study the video and everything that happened around the game, and we will give our assessment then” added another official. Because the case is embarrassing for the Russian Federation, which has made efforts to stem the phenomenon in the perspective of the World Cup.
. “Intrusive curiosity”
France striker Ousmane Dembélé during the friendly match against Russia on March 27, 2018 in Saint-Petersburg
“The political demonstrations, cries of monkey are clearly down in the stands, even if there are still some incidents in the last two seasons,” notes Ronan Evain, a specialist in Russian supportism. “The clubs have an anti-racist message, and the Russian authorities are putting a lot of pressure on the leaders of the groups of supporters and the groups so that everything goes as well as possible” at the World Cup.
The Russian Federation has named the former international Alexei Smertin inspector responsible for racism and discrimination in football last June. “Russia is a multi-ethnic and multi-denominational country with different peoples who have lived together for centuries, and I am convinced that no incidents of racism will take place here,” he told AFP.
But “we do not change the society just by convincing the fans not to make cries of monkey”, observes Ronan Evain, for whom the Russian population “has a conception of racism quite different from ours”. An example? He observed Tuesday in the stands “the intrusive curiosity of Russians with people of color, taking selfies for example.”
“It was not necessarily malicious, more clumsy, but people were uncomfortable and we too,” he continues. “It may be a problem in small towns, which do not necessarily have the habit of receiving tourists, with supporters of African selections, the Middle East or Latin America.”
A difficult problem to solve in less than three months.
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