Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko denied that his country has a particular problem with racism in soccer, despite Russian Premier League clubs receiving repeated stadium bans, partial closures and fines from UEFA for racist incidents involving its fans. For example, Russian champ CSKA Moscow has been forced to play the remainder of its UEFA Champions League home games this season behind closed doors as punishment for its fans’ racist chanting.
Nonetheless, Mutko says there is no particular problem in Russia. "I don't see that we should especially stand out in this,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “A lot of dark-skinned players, from Africa, Asia, play in Russia and I don't really see any problems." When asked why some black players expressed fear of Russian crowds, he said: "I don't know what there is to be frightened of here. I can say that it's a problem on a global scale."
Mutko, who is a member of FIFA’s executive committee, added: "[Racism] crops up at any stadium in the world, as you well know. It turns up everywhere, because unfortunately the world's like that today."