Dec 17, 2012, 1:45 PM EST
You may know two-time Russian Premier League champion Zenit St. Petersburg from such hits as forfeiting a match for throwing explosives at the opposing team’s goalkeeper; throwing flares into a restaurant and attacking the opposing team’s bus; and wanton field destruction. Now this:
A group of the team’s supporters have called for the team to stop signings of all non-European and “sexual minorities.”
In a manifesto on its web site, Zenit supporters have called for the club to stop signing black and minority players, retaining only Caucasians, and to ban homosexuals. Recent signings of Belgian midfielder Axel Witselstriker and Givanildo Vieira de Souza (Hulk) of Brazil may have triggered the fan outburst.
“We object to representatives of sexual minorities playing for Zenit,” said the letter published on Landscrona.ru.
“We are not racists and for us, the lack of black players at Zenit is only an important tradition, which emphasises the identity of the club and nothing more.
“Zenit has its own identity in the world of football, along with a number of football clubs that have retained their own identity.
“As the most northern club of the major European cities, we have never been associated with Africa, South America or Australia and Oceania.
“We have absolutely nothing against the people of these and any other continent. But now black players are being imposed on Zenit almost by force.”
It’s the old ‘We’re not racist, but all non-whites get out’ argument. To its credit, team management is distancing itself from this particular group of fans, and the Premier League is considering sanctions.
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