CSKA boss Leonid Slutsky has claimed that Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has overreacted and that he did not suffer racial abuse in last week’s Champions League game in Russia.
Toure, as we well know, is from the Ivory Coast and has dealt with racial abuse in the past while playing for FC Barcelona. The Spanish Liga BBVA is infamous for its fans’ racist chants, especially in smaller provincial stadiums, and the Russian Premier League has followed suit and become a safe haven for racist fans.
Is he really overreacting? I think not. I applaud passion and excitement at football stadiums worldwide, but racism should never ever be accepted or encouraged. FIFA is supposedly trying to crack down on racism in football, but seems to be doing a poor job of stopping it.
Teams whose fans yell racist chants and taunt opposing players, especially in Europe’s elite competition, should be banned from participating and have severe economic sanctions handed to them. Toure’s coach Manuel Pellegrini as well as the City brass support him, and stand by him in asking for severe punishment.
CSKA fans did taunt Toure, and he is right to react and ask for proper punishment. Branding a player as exaggerated because he gets upset about being racially abused is not only irresponsible, but horribly disrespectful. In an ideal world, it should see Slutsky lose his job. FIFA and UEFA not doing anything about this is the equivalent of encouraging such awful behavior.
There is no place in modern day football for racism, and hopefully these hooligans will cease to act this way if sanctions get harsher. Toure should be commended for standing up for himself because it’s clear that the UEFA hierarchy will not.