French Sports Minister Laura Flessel is calling for “international” action after Tuesday’s debacle in which fans made monkey noises whenever a black player touched the ball during France’s 3-1 win over Russia in St. Petersburg.
Racism has become a primary concern for many around the world as Russia prepares to host the World Cup this summer. There is a universal uneasiness that the tournament could be stained by similar incidents, which in particular saw French players Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele targeted by widespread racist chants throughout the game.
“Racism has no place on the football field,” Flessel said, according to Goal.com. “We must act together at European and international levels to put an end to such unacceptable behavior.”
Whole sections of the home crowd reportedly appeared to zero in on Pogba, who scored on a free kick in the game, while others hurled their abuse at Barcelona winger Dembele whenever he took corner kicks. The match was one of the last international contests on the schedule ahead of the World Cup. Russia will host Turkey in the last fixture one week before the tournament begins.
Russia has lost all five of its last international matches, dating back to a 4-2 loss to South Korea in October.