18 Dec 2012

Zenit fans show intolerance

12:47 pm on 18 December 2012

Zenit Saint-Petersburg football fans have stirred up a racism row with a manifesto urging the team not to sign gay players, black players or those from South America, despite the club's star striker Hulk coming from Brazil.

A large Zenit fan movement called 'Landskrona' published a manifesto on its website outlining its vision for a team without black or gay players, while insisting that the fans were not racists, and for then the lack of black players at Zenit is just an important tradition, underlining the identity of the club.

It added the club "was never mentally linked with Africa, nor with South America or Australia or Oceania" and complained that "black players are now being imposed on Zenit practically by force."

It also said that "we are against representatives of sexual minorities playing for Zenit," who are currently third in the Russian Premier League.

The Saint Petersburg-based team owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom responded by telling the Interfax news agency that the club's players "join our team not because of their nationality and skin colour" and urged fans to be tolerant.