World football governing body the Federation of International Football Associations(FIFA) are investigating 2018 World Cup hosts Russia after their fans were accused of aiming monkey chants at black French players, including Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, according to the Daily Mail.
Russia lost the friendly 3-1 to France at the Krestovsty Stadium in St Petersburg with Pogba scoring one of the goals, while another black player Kylian Mbappe scored twice.
The Mail reported on Thursday that FIFA are gathering reports and contacting Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) after Pogba and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele were targeted at the Krestovsky Stadium.
The same venue will host seven World Cup matches this summer, including Nigeria versus Argentina on 26 June and a semi-final.
French Minister for Sport Laura Flessel has called for action.
“Racism has no place on football pitches,” Flessel said on Wednesday. “We should act together at a European and international level in order to stop this intolerable behaviour.”
A spokesperson for world football’s governing body confirmed: “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 observer who was present at the game. Please understand, until we have evaluated all information available, we cannot comment further.”
Several eye witnesses have claimed that they heard racist chants aimed at France’s black players, a situation that has become a regular occurrence in Russia.
In October, UEFA charged Spartak Moscow after fans made racist chants during a UEFA Youth League fixture against Liverpool and Zenit were charged over accusations that their fans threw objects and engaged in racist behaviour during their Europa League clash with RB Leipzig.