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>> Russia, a country playing host to thousands of soccer fans from around the world, and one with a documented record of racist abuse at matches. A recent study by European watchdog, FAIR, found instance such as offensive far-right banners are down overall. But the frequency of monkey chants was up during Russia's latest soccer season.
Russia has a proven and visible problem with racism at a domestic club level. That's largely attributed to Ultra's hardcore fans. The question is, whether that will rear its ugly head amid a tournament with much more oversight, and largely international crowd. Former Chelsea player Alexey Smertin is the person tasked by Russia to clean up its game.
>> It happens everywhere, not only in Russia. Because this is an issue which exists everywhere.>> Just last month FIFA fined Russia for racial abuse from fans during a friendly match with France. And last week, one Duma Law maker, the head of the Russian Parlance Family Affairs Committee warned Russian women against sex with nonwhite fans.
A point we put to Smurtin.>> Fans, shouldn't sleep with foreign tourists?>> Tourists
rry, thank you.
FAIR is more forthcoming on the issue, setting up this so-called diversity house in Moscow presented as a safe space for minorities. Its head says negative attitudes are a top-down problem.
>> That's the sort of arrogant racism that we see a lot of, there's no question. I address the Duma last December, and some of the questions that people have, frankly, are very basic. Issues of race are not really part of the public discourse, and I think that's where those sort of comments come from.
>> Legacy's a word you hear a lot in reference to Russia's World Cup. Rise groups hope that means more than tournament infrastructure. And that, perhaps, a temporary influx of foreigners can also leave a lasting impression on tolerance.