Are black soccer players willing to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia in order to protest the racism that reportedly rears its ugly head during matches there? At least one black player who was the victim of racism in Russia recently suggests that they are.
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure just revealed that he was the victim of racist chants during a Champions League match against CSKA in Moscow earlier this week. CSKA denies that any such chants took place. But Toure insists that they didâ€”and says that he might consider boycotting the 2018 World Cup in order to take a stand against the racism that he says exists in Russia.
"If we aren't confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia," he said earlier this week, "we don't come."
He's not alone, either. Piara Powar, who is the executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, says that boycotting the World Cup in 2018 might not be such a bad idea.
"Yaya Toure is absolutely right in raising the spectre of African players or players of African heritage not going to the 2018 World Cup," he said after hearing Toure's idea, "and without them there will not be a World Cup in Russia."
2018 is obviously still a really long time away. So it's too early for Toure to start organizing an official boycott or anything. But the fact that he's speaking up about the racism that exists in Russia should put the country on alert. They've got about four years to clean up their act, and they better use that time wisely. Or else...