World Cup 2018: No racism recorded yet, despite initial fears

first_imgThr fear of racism hung over the start of FIFA World Cup 2018, yet up until the midway point of this year’s edition.Senegalese computer scientist Alioune Ndiaye’s fears that he might face racist abuse at the soccer World Cup in Russia have not materialised. Nor have other foreign fans’ fears.Midway through the month-long tournament, no major racist incidents have been reported among players and fans despite concerns in the run-up that the World Cup could be tarnished by racism.International rights groups that sounded the alarm over a series of racist incidents at soccer matches in the months preceding the tournament have said that the World Cup experience in Russia has so far been generally positive.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGE”What I found in Russia is very different to what they told me before coming here,” Ndiaye, the Senegalese fan, said outside the stadium in the city of Samara, where his country’s side lost 1-0 to Colombia on Thursday.”When I told people ‘I am going to Russia’ … they said ‘Oh, no, be careful’ and stuff like that. But people in Russia are very welcoming, very kind and I don’t see anything like racism here.”ROUND OF 16 LINEUP & SCHEDULERussia had pledged to host a safe and secure World Cup in 11 cities, including for visible minorities. But racist incidents at matches between Russian Premier League clubs and at an international friendly earlier this year fuelled concern that players and fans could be subjected to abuse.CSKA Moscow fans chanted racist abuse at Arsenal’s black players several times during a Europa League match in April in Moscow, while FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, fined Russia one month before the World Cup for racist abuse directed at French players during the friendly in March.advertisementFIFA WORLD CUP 2018: Who plays who in the round of 16But at the World Cup, fans and rights groups say the mood is different.”We are all together with them,” said Senegalese fan Bigue Thombane of Russian fans as she banged on a drum outside the stadium in Samara. “There is nothing. No racism at all. Truly.”FIFA WORLD CUP 2018: CONFEDERATION-WISE REPORT CARDPiara Powar, the head of the FARE network, an organisation that monitors discrimination in European soccer, said it had not recorded a single significant incident involving Russian far-right hooligans or any racist incidents involving Russian fans.FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – STATS”There has been nothing on a major scale and nothing from Russians,” Powar said. “That was one of the concerns of course coming into the tournament. So that’s all good news from our point of view.” THE WORLD IS WATCHINGReferees at the World Cup have the power to stop, suspend of abandon a match in the event of discriminatory incidents. They have not done this so far in the tournament.But the absence of major racist incidents does not mean that the group stage of the World Cup has been without problems related to discrimination.BEST FAN MOMENTS OF WORLD CUP SO FARFIFA fined Mexico for homophobic chants by their fans. Denmark was fined for a sexist banner, and some women at the tournament have been targeted by discriminatory behaviour. Poland and Serbia were also fined for “political and offensive” banners displayed by their fans.Powar said that the absence of racist incidents did not come as a major surprise given Russia’s and citizens’ efforts to project a positive image of the country to foreign guests.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more