Spartak Moscow have sparked outrage on social media, after captioning a Twitter video featuring a number of their black players training in the sun with "See how the chocolate melts in the sun".
The Russian outfit were undergoing a warm-weather training camp in the United Arab Emirates, and uploaded the video to their official Twitter account showing squad members Luiz Adriano, Pedro Rocha and Fernando performing their warm-ups in the searing heat. Understandably, the controversial choice of caption has been condemned by a large number of Twitter users.
Delete!— gent. (@gentpolloshka) January 13, 2018
Are you serious?— Martin Ballantine (@martinpiracy) January 13, 2018
Disgraceful tweet...— Satul Parekh (@SatulParekh) January 13, 2018
Concerns remain as to the potential racist abuse black players from across the world could face when they represent their countries in Russia during the World Cup 2018 this summer. Spartak were charged with racism in December 2017, after Liverpool youngster Ryan Brewster accused any opposition player of racially abusing him during their UEFA Youth League clash.
The grim spectre of racism in football remains a huge problem in Russia, and what should be a celebration of the beautiful game could rapidly become a horrifying spectacle of bigotry and intolerance. Football fans will be hoping that FIFA will take a hardline stance on any racist behaviour from fans in the tournament - exercising their right to impose suitable punishments.
In transfer news, Russian striker Fyodor Smolov has emerged as a transfer target for West Ham United, as they desperately hunt for some attacking firepower in the January transfer window. The Krasnodar forward 10 goals in 13 matches so far during the Russian Premier League season, and scored twice against Spain in a friendly for the national team last year.