Russian Club Spartak Moscow Spark Racism Row With Offensive Video

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The Russian outfit were undergoing a warm-weather training camp in the United Arab Emirates, and uploaded the video to their official Twitter account showing squad members Luiz Adriano, Pedro Rocha and Fernando performing their warm-ups in the searing heat.

There are reports that Spartak's Twitter account was actually being controlled by defender Georgi Dzhikiya at the time the tweet in question was posted.

The tweet was published around 0900 GMT and retweeted over 1,400 times, triggering a wave of criticism before it was deleted nearly five hours later. Dzhikiya was reportedly speaking the same phrase in the video. Later in the day, Spartak tweeted another video of Dzhikiya being interviewed alongside Adriano, Rocha and Fernando.

Piara Powar, executive director at the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network, labelled racism as a major issue to be addressed in Russian Federation ahead of the World Cup.

"This social media post from the official account of Spartak Moscow only continues to highlight the prejudices towards black people in Russian Federation. For Russia's biggest club to tolerate and then celebrate racist references of this kind is wrong", FARE Executive Director Piara Powar said in a statement.

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Spartak was ordered to close part of its stadium for another Youth League game after UEFA ruled its fans abused Liverpool striker Bobby Adekanye with monkey chants.

"It is a reminder, that along with the whole of football, there is significant work to do to eradicate racism of all forms from the sport".

Spartak player Leonid Mironov is already facing a UEFA racism charge over alleged racist abuse of Liverpool's Rhian Brewster during a Youth League game in December.

But Russia has vowed to ensure fans' safety when it hosts the 2018 World Cup by cracking down on both hooliganism and racism.

They were sanctioned for Islamophobic chanting recently but clearly the message has not reached the players or the club management.

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