Spartak Moscow captain faces minimum 10-game ban if guilty of racism at Liverpool

Guardian sport on 7 December 2017

The Spartak Moscow captain, Leonid Mironov, has been charged with racist behaviour towards Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster during a Uefa Youth League match at Prenton Park and faces a ban of at least 10 games if found guilty.

Liverpool reported Spartak to European football’s governing body after Brewster, a member of England Under-17 World Cup-winning team, alleged he had been verbally racially abused.

Mironov, who is 19, will have his case heard by Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary body. If found guilty he will be suspended for at least 10 games or for a specified period.

Uefa regulations state: “Any person who insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons on whatever grounds, including skin colour, race, religion or ethnic origin, incurs a suspension lasting at least 10 matches or a specified period of time, or any other appropriate sanction.”

The 17-year-old Brewster, considered one of the brightest young talents in the English game, had to be restrained by team-mates and coaching staff including Steven Gerrard at the final whistle. Liverpool confirmed they had “followed the proper procedure by reporting the alleged incident to Uefa”.

It is the second time this season the club has made a complaint against Spartak after Brewster’s team-mate Bobby Adekanye was racially abused by fans during a game in Moscow in September.

On that occasion Spartak were ordered by Uefa to close at least 500 seats at their academy ground for their next home fixture and display a banner on the empty seats reading “#EqualGame”. If Mironov is found guilty and this is seen as a continuation of the same problem, Spartak could face a full ground closure.

Kick It Out sent out a stinging response to the alleged abuse during Wednesday’s match, pointing the finger at Uefa for its lack of action on the issue.

Its statement read: “Less than two months ago,Spartak Moscow supporters were found guilty of racially abusing Liverpool’s Bobby Adenkanye, however it is clear Uefa’s punishment of a partial stadium closure was far from sufficient to protect Liverpool’s players. Kick It Out has worked closely with Liverpool over the past two years to offer support regarding on-field incidents of discrimination, and believes the club has been let down by Uefa in their response.

“Kick It Out expects a swift investigation by Uefa. Should the Spartak Moscow player be found guilty, the club must receive a far stronger punishment if Europe’s governing body is truly serious about ensuring that football is an ‘#EqualGame’. It is also extremely concerning to this organisation that yet another incident has taken place involving a Russian club, particularly ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

“Players and supporters have been told on several occasions by the Russian Football Association that racism is not a serious problem in Russian football. However, incidents such as these undermine any confidence black and minority ethnic footballers or supporters will have in their ability to attend the World Cup in Russia without suffering racial abuse.”

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