Oct 30 2013
Leading anti-racism campaigner Piara Powar has welcomed the punishment handed out to CSKA Moscow, but has warned that Russia still needs to do more to stamp out racism ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
UEFA ordered CSKA to close part of their stadium for their next Champions League game after it found the Russian club's fans guilty of racism towards Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
After years of criticism, UEFA has stepped up its game on racism.
European football's governing body increased the severity of sanctions for racist behaviour in the summer.
UEFA has handed out nine full or partial stadium closure punishments under the new regime, and Powar, who heads the anti-racism group the FARE network (Football Against Racism in Europe), believes clubs will start to take action on the issue.
"The ruling is in line with the new regulations and is therefore very welcome," Powar said.
"I think this does send a strong message. In some countries self-regulation hasn't worked.
"Now there should be absolutely no confusion amongst any fans of any European club over the sanctions that will be applied if their fans are guilty - there will be a partial closure for a first offence, a fine and a full stadium closure for the second offence and the third offence is being kicked out of the competition.
"Now we already are up to nine full or partial closures this season so that shows that these rules are working."
Supporters from Russia and its former satellite states have been found guilty of racism in the past, and there are fears the problem will rear its head when the World Cup takes place there in 2018.
Toure believes players should consider boycotting the competition if the spectre of racism continues to haunt Russia over the next four-and-a-half years.
FIFA has expressed its concerns to the Russian FA and Powar thinks improvements must be made in the country, where racist and homophobic attacks have been recorded with alarming regularity.
"This has shone a light on other things that are happening in Russia - in football and in general life," Powar said.
"It has raised concerns about what has to be done before the World Cup takes place there.
"The players don't want to go to a place where they know they might be abused,
"FIFA have been in touch with the organising committee and the ball is now in their court."
Powar thinks widespread education among Russian football fans is the way forward.
He added: "The CKSA denial in this case was quite shocking to many.
"There is an idea that a denial can be enough to brush the issue aside so I think we know that education is needed across the board.
"Different parts of Russian football need to come together and discuss these issues.
"The clubs need to start to educate their ultras and other fans.
"The rules in Russia are strong, so there isn't a need to change the legal framework, it's more about making those laws work."