World football governing body FIFA has announced it will investigate racist abuse directed at French players from Russian fans during Tuesday’s international friendly in St. Petersburg.
Footage of the game picked up monkey chants directed at Manchester United star Paul Pogba and a Reuters photographer at pitch level reported they heard monkey chants directed at N’Golo Kante when he approached the sideline for a throw-in.
“FIFA is collecting the different match reports and potential evidence in regards to the discriminatory incident reported in the media, including the one from the Fare [Football Against Racism in Europe] observer who was present at the game,” FIFA said in a statement.
In reaction to the behavior, French Sports Minister Laura Flessel-Colovic tweeted: “Racism does not have its place on soccer fields. We must act together at the European and international level to stop this intolerable behavior.”
CSKA Fans Against Racism, a group of CSKA Moscow fans who persevere in the fight against racism in football, called the chants “shameful and disgusting.”
The match, which France won 3-1, took place at Krestovsky Stadium, home of Zenit St. Petersburg. Last week, UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the club for racist chants during a recent Europa League match against RB Leipzig.
At a press conference before his team’s friendly against Netherlands, England national team manager Gareth Southgate was quizzed on the potential threat of racism in Russia.
“I don’t think we should just talk about racism in Russia. We’ve got to get our own house in order. There are still things going on in our country that aren’t correct around racism,” he replied.