Russian football club under fire for 'racist' tweet about own players

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Spartak Moscow have sparked outrage on social media, after captioning a Twitter video featuring a number of their black players training in the sun with "See how the chocolate melts in the sun".

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.

Spartak Moscow, Russian league champs past year, later posted a video in which one of the three Brazilian players in the earlier post, Fernando, denied there was any racism at the club. "We are a friendly family". Dzhikiya was reportedly speaking the same phrase in the video. The players had their arms around each other, and Adriano said, "This is my friend, my brother". The Krasnodar forward 10 goals in 13 matches so far during the Russian Premier League season, and scored twice against Spain in a friendly for the national team past year.

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Speaking to BBC Sport, Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, highlighted the troubling nature of the tweet in a year when Russian Federation are set to host the World Cup.

The antidiscrimination group the FARE Network, which investigates racism issues for European soccer's governing body UEFA, criticized Spartak.

"This shows a shocking level of ignorance".

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One of its youth players was also charged with racially abusing Liverpool teenager Rhian Brewster earlier this season, and its fans have previously been sanctioned for chants in UEFA Youth League games.

The tweet has been greeted with outrage online, as the country prepares to host the World Cup later this summer. Mironov denies any racist comments and has claimed Brewster made up the incident so he would be banned.

UEFA ordered them to partially close their academy stadium for a fixture after a section of fans were guilty of racist behaviour towards Nigeria-born Liverpool striker Bobby Adekanye.

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