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Yaya Toure: Black players could boycott Russia World Cup

ACTION CALL: Yaya Toure wants to combat racism (PA)

AFRICANS AND other black footballers around the globe may have to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia if the host nation does not sufficiently combat racism from stadium crowds, Yaya Toure has said.

The 30-year-old Manchester City midfielder was the target of alleged racist abuse from some CSKA Moscow fans on Wednesday’s (October 23) Champions League game that City won 2-1.

Toure complained to the match referee about being racially abused but no action was taken, despite 2009 Uefa guidelines giving officials powers to prevent such abuse.

The Ivory Coast international, who was left “furious” after the game, said: “If we aren't confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia, we don't come”.

CSKA have denied any racist chanting from fans took place – in a statement, the Russian club said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the allegations and that “having carefully studied the video of the game, we found no racist insults from fans of CSKA.”

Club spokesman Michael Sanadze told BBC Radio 5 live: “We have nothing to hide, of course, and we have confirmation from the match delegate and the venue director that they themselves didn't hear anything special.”

Ivorian CSKA player Seydou Doumbia went further and accused Toure of “clearly exaggerating”.

He added: “I didn't hear anything like that from the CSKA fans.

“Yes, they're always noisy in supporting the team and try to put as much pressure as possible on our opponents, but they wouldn't ever allow themselves to come out with racist chants.

“So my Ivory Coast colleague is clearly exaggerating.”

Piara Powar, chief of Football Against Racism in Europe, supported Toure’s opinion about a possible boycott of Russia’s World Cup.

He said: “Yaya Toure is absolutely right in raising the spectre of African players or players of African heritage not going to the 2018 World Cup - and without them there will not be a World Cup in Russia.

“I wouldn't blame them - in this era players are the most powerful force and if all the players said they are not going there wouldn't be a World Cup, or if there was it would be meaningless.”

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