(Reuters) – Black players could boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia if the country does not tackle racism in the stands, according to Manchester City’s Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure.
Toure, whose allegations that he suffered racist abuse during Wednesday’s 2-1 Champions League victory at CSKA Moscow have prompted UEFA to open disciplinary proceedings against the club, said FIFA and Russian authorities needed to act.
The idea of a boycott did not sit well with some Premier League managers and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho said the enjoyment of the majority should not be ruined by the actions of the minority.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said European soccer’s governing body UEFA needed to complete its investigation before there could be any talk of a boycott.
The episode has been embarrassing for UEFA during its ‘Football Against Racism in Europe Action Week’.
Europe’s governing body has been criticised by world players’ union FIFPro for failing to enforce its own guidelines, under which match officials have the power to stop and abandon games in case of a serious incident.
On Friday, UEFA president Michel Platini ordered an internal inquiry into why Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan and his assistants did not follow the guidelines.
CSKA have denied Toure’s allegation of racism, saying they were “surprised and disappointed” by it.
Toure, who speaks Russian after spending two years playing in Ukraine for Metalurg Donetsk, said the abuse he experienced in Moscow was worse than anything he encountered in Ukraine.