The Russians have much to do to clean up their act after the latest disgaceful racist taunting of Brazilian football legend Roberto Carlos was caught by the TV Cameras. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident in a country plagued with similar incidents since winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup.
There is a long history of African players complaining of monkey chants and thrown bananas, while ethnic clashes that rocked Moscow late last year were organised in co-ordination with football fans. As recently as March this year, former Brazilian international Carlos was targeted when a fan from a club in St. Petersburg taunted him with a half-peeled banana.
The latest incident, during a league match on Wednesday, prompted the 38-year-old 2002 World Cup winner to throw the banana back at the stands and to walk off the pitch in the city of Samara in disgust. He later said he was considering quitting the game in protest.
“I am really upset by what happened,” said Carlos, whose team-mates have revealed broke down in tears when he got back to the dressing room and appeared crushed by the racist jibe.
Fighting tears and an appeal from the referee, he refused to continue playing and after the game said: “I’m outraged by the sickening behavior of this fan, who, in fact, insulted not only me but all the players.
“I hope the Russian federation, UEFA and FIFA will give an adequate evaluation to this disgusting incident.”
The former Brazilian superstar, who now plays for Anzhi Makhachkala in the Russian Premier League added: “I am used to there being no racism in football. Russia should not be an exception.”
The famous Roberto Carlos banana free-kick in 1997
– France v Brazil – was arguably the best free-kick ever scored.
it was so outrageous many fans have questioned whether he really meant it. But physicists laid the argument to rest by computing the trajectory and deciding it was all down to a phenomenon known as the ‘spinning ball spiral.
He added: “Stop playing was what went through my mind, yes. I have decided that I will stay but if something like this happens again I will have to make a decision.
“You know when that sadness hits, that feeling of being powerless? I left there sad, hurt. So many kids there. That has to be banned from football. When I got to the locker rooms the guys hugged me and sang for me. It was a very interesting thing. The guys on the team really like me.”
FIFA brushed aside claims that the Russian game was riddled with racism to award it the 2018 World Cup last December accepting assurances that the authorities would crack down hard on racism. It is time for the authorites to actually do what they promised.
Roberto Carlos became a worldwide star when he famously scored an incredible banana free kick against France at Le Tournoi in 1997