Toure warns of World Cup boycott
Manchester City's Yaya Toure has warned Russian football chiefs that black players may consider boycotting the 2018 World Cup in their country unless they address the issues of racism that are tarnishing their image.
Toure has spoken out again after his claims that he was racially abused by sections of the CSKA Moscow fans in Wednesday night's Champions League game in the Russian capital reignited the issue of racist abuse for a football nation that has been under the spotlight for similar instances time and again in recent years.
While CSKA officials insist there is no case to answer despite Toure's claims, the Ivory Coast midfielder is eager to suggest his fellow black players may make the ultimate sacrifice unless there is a change of culture in Russian football ahead of the 2018 World Cup finals.
"If we are not confident coming to the World Cup in Russia, we don't come," Toure is reported to have told RIA Novosti news agency. "Of course it’s a problem here, it happens all the time. I played in Ukraine, which was quite good, but they said some things as well.
"We have come here and it is the same again. I don’t know why it happens in football. I don’t know why you don’t get something like this in rugby or handball or any other sport, it’s just football."
UEFA have opened a disciplinary inquiry into the complaints made by Toure, with CSKA Moscow's hastily issued public statements claiming their fans are blameless, confirming that they intend to defend their position in a forceful manner.
A report from the UEFA observer who was in attendance at the game in Moscow should provide an unbiased version of events that will allow European football's governing body to pass a judgement on the matter.