Racism at World Cup 2018

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Sterling Sellers, Sports Journalist

Perhaps the world’s most popular sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, will take place in the Summer of 2018. The competition takes place once every four years, and attracts about 3.2 billion viewers from around the globe. 

     The host nation for the 2018 World Cup will be Russia, and there are some concerns regarding the country’s history of hooliganism and racism in the sport. 

       Russia is not considered to be a powerhouse in the landscape of league or international soccer. However, Russia is home to multiple high profile clubs such as Zenit St. Petersburg, CSKA Moscow, and Spartak Moscow. 

        These clubs have made varying degrees of impact on the European stage, and have produced some formidable talent. However, multiple instances regarding the treatment of black, gay, and foreign players have arisen in recent years.

      The most notable of these instances came from Zenit St. Petersburg in 2012. The incident arose when a group of Zenit fans wrote a letter to a chairman of the club saying that gay and non-white players are “unworthy of our great city.”

        

      So what is Russia doing to make sure that incidents like these stay at a minimum? They have made Alexey Smertin the ant-racism and discrimination inspector. When asked about the probability of an incident occurring Smertin assured CNN that there would be no such occurrence.

      Keep in mind that Smertin also said that people handing out bananas to black players specifically was ‘just a bit of fun’. This lack of awareness is definitely something to worry about, and could lead to a disgusting situation at the World Cup.

      Crowd control will also be concern after the incidents at the European Championships in France in 2016. Multiple occurrences of hooliganism led to a warning from UEFA towards the Russian FA. If these trends continue, the country of Russia could contradict any hopes of international sporting events in the future.