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Dec 7, 2010

World Cup 'can help end racism'

Peter Odemwingie is optimistic that FIFA's decision to award Russia the 2018 World Cup will help the country eradicate racism from the stands.

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Odemwingie was the victim of racist abuse when leaving Lokomotiv Moscow for West Brom this summer. Lokomotiv fans produced a banner that read "Thanks West Brom" and depicted a banana.

Russia's bid team were sensitive to accusations of racism in the build-up to the World Cup vote in Zurich last week, and though Odemwingie had previously voiced concerns about hosting the tournament in the country, he now hopes FIFA's decision will instigate change in the midset of racist fans.

"You can't just condemn a country because of some racism," Odemwingie said. "It is a minority group. They are there but I think the country now is ready to deal with it.

"In a way I am happy they have taken the World Cup there. A lot of different people and nationalities will come into their country and their mentality might change. The little negative part they have might reduce and there will be peace in the country. I really hope for the good because you can't just condemn them for that. There are lots of people in the country who love football.

"Every country should congratulate them. People are maybe unsure how the World Cup is going to be but let's see. When it comes then maybe it will better than everyone thought."

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