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NOVOGORSK /Moscow Region/, October 4. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday he believed that fans of Spartak Moscow football club were unlikely to express racist behavior during the club’s youth squad match last week.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced on Wednesday that it launched a probe against youth football club Spartak Moscow on accusations of racist behavior of the club’s fans last week.
British daily The Telegraph reported earlier that Liverpool FC filed a complaint with the UEFA claiming that during the group stage match last week on Tuesday in the Russian capital, which hosts won 2-1, racist chants were heard from the stadium stands of Spartak Moscow FC fans and were addressed to 18-year-old striker Bobby Adekanye from Liverpool FC.
"It is hard to make any comments at the moment as I have not watched the match," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), told journalists. "There was an officer from the UEFA present at the game and in case he registered some sort of violations, we would be definitely issuing penalties."
"I believe that fans of Spartak Moscow FC, which has a lot of foreign players, were not implicated earlier in such misbehavior," he said adding that racist manifestations in Russian football had been long a matter of the past.
"We are all sober-minded and most probably it was an unintentional act," Mutko said. "Racism in Russia? We live here and see nothing of the kind."
"What if we speak a fan? He is advised against setting off a flare, but he fires it up nevertheless and is absolutely confident that he right saying that it is one of the elements to express support for his favorite team. This is a very complicated issue," Mutko added.
According to the UEFA’s statement on Wednesday, charges against FC Spartak Moscow include "Racist behavior (monkey chants)."
"This case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on 19 October," the statement added.
Security and fans behavior before, during and after football matches is in particular focus of the Russian football authorities as the country is currently in full swing preparations for hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.