Ex-Lokomotiv Moscow star Peter Odemwingie believes racism in Russian football is worsening and needs to be tackled before the 2018 World Cup is hosted.
The Nigerian international, who is also half-Russian, was tranferred to West Brom at the start of the season with some Lokomotiv fans brandishing offensive banners upon his exit.
Giving an exclusive interview to the world’s media, Odemwingie told how things have gradually been getting worse since he left and urged the Russian government to look into the matter. As is well known, Russia beat England, as well as joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Holland and Belgium, for the right to host the 2018 competition.
In September, when his transfer was confirmed and he began starring for the club, West Brom fans gave their full support for Odemwingie and even made their own banner for a home fixture against Tottenham that was the complete opposite of that the Russians put on show – one which had a banana on it and a message that read ‘Thanks West Brom’.
Speaking on that particular incident in the interview, Odemwingie told how he was surprised to see such racist slurs come from Lokomotiv fans given the fact that they are perhaps the domestic league’s most peaceful fans – something that he now takes as evidence that attitudes in Russian football are worsening.
However, he did point out that not all clubs can have the finger pointed at them, as many are just spoiled by a small group of individuals intent on giving others a bad name.