Lokomotiv Moscow Dismiss Banana Thrown At Anzhi’s Chris Samba As ‘Surreptitious’ Set-Up

Chris Wright

19th, March 2012


By Chris Wright

It is being reported that Anzhi centre-half Christopher Samba was given the ol’ Russian Banana Salute (as given to Roberto Carlos and Peter Odemwingie before him) by Lokomotiv Moscow fans during Sunday evening’s game between the two sides.

After a damning photo was published in newspaper Sovetsky Sport yesterday, Anzhi have accused Lokomotiv fans of abusing Samba, calling the taunt ‘idiotic and disappointing’ – indeed, they’ve even set up a dedicated task force to investigate the incident in Moscow.

An Anzhi spokesman said after the game:

“A banana came down at Samba from the VIP section, as the teams were leaving the field. Who threw it is unknown.

“Samba picked up the banana and threw it back. In our opinion this was the best and most appropriate response to those responsible.”

However, Lokomotiv president Olga Smorodskaya is having none of it, claiming that, after viewing inconclusive footage of the abuse, Anzhi may have set up the incident to drag her club’s name through the mire.

Smorodskaya told RIA Novosti:

“I didn’t see anything. This didn’t happen and couldn’t have happened, I watched how our fans behaved in the stadium. They have provided exemplary support to the team.

“I would like to bring to people’s attention that all these banana stories happen only with one club (Anzhi). Roberto Carlos has had two bananas this year.

“No-one saw anything. If this event actually took place, then it was done surreptitiously. It all looks like a provocation [to make Lokomotiv appear racist]. I don’t know on whose part.

“Of course, if the incident is proven to have occurred we won’t hide anything and we will absolutely punish the guilty.

“We have a lot of dark-skinned players, and have never had anything of this kind.”

Who knows? She may be right, she may be wrong – but, once again, this is the gleeful send-off that a section of the Lokomotiv fans gave Odemwingie (who is, lest we forget, a ‘dark-skinned’ chap) on his final game before departing to West Brom…

Hardly the most exonerating of images.

Roll on the 2018 World Cup.

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  1. Mr. Sparkle says:

    Not just a problem in Russia; racism is ever present everywhere. I think this year has proven that England has not moved very far from those dark days.

  2. Gaz says:

    Disagree totally, there is no more racism in football than there is in society.
    I assume you are talking about when Liverpool fans boo’d Evra. They boo’d Evra because he (in their eyes) got their player in trouble, not because he is black (no one boo’d any other black player on the pitch)

  3. KopRed says:

    Mr. Sparkle, I think that the uproar surrounding the two or three incidents this year is proof that England has moved on: Suarez is now vilified by the entire football community, including the less deluded Liverpool supporters (such as myself). It would only have been a truly regressive step if no action had been taken in relation to the incidents, but we will see on the JT front, perhaps the FA will regress simply because he is English.

  4. sloth says:

    I don’t understand how this still happens all throughout Europe, while in America basketball, American football, and baseball have essentially eliminated racism entirely from their sports, even in the back-woods Dirty South. There has even been concern about racist prejudice against WHITE players in American football, specifically running backs and wide receivers, as white players are assumed to be less athletic than their black counterparts.
    If the yanks can put racism behind them, so should the Europeans and British.

  5. Les says:

    I just want to say well done to FIFA, sending the World Cup to that bastion of racial tolerance that is Russia. a country where even legends like Roberto Carlos are racially abused. God help us when relative unknowns step onto the world cup pitches for the four african representatives in front of such a tolerant and accepting bunch of fans

  6. Jarren says:

    @KopRed: I quite agree. The amount of sheer scandal associated with the incidents in England shows how far the country has progressed over the last 25 years.

    Of course there is still the odd idiot here & there but when you compare “the odd idiot in the crowd” at a PL game to a quite substantial section of fans who erect a big fucking banner with a banana on it, it’s clear to see English football is miles ahead of other countries in terms of minimising racists within the game.

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