Russia launch anti-racism taskforce after Samba abuse
March 23, 2012 -- Updated 1900 GMT (0300 HKT)
Congolese defender Christopher Samba played for English side Blackburn Rovers between 2007 and 2012.
- Russian Football Union to launch a group aimed at tackling racism in the sport
- Anzhi Makhachkala defender Christopher Samba had a banana throw at him on Sunday
- Anzhi's Roberto Carlos also had a banana thrown at him while playing for the club
- Russia are to host the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time in 2018
(CNN) -- Russian football has been blighted by a series of high-profile incidents of racial abuse in recent times, an issue the country's soccer administrators are eager to address ahead of the FIFA World Cup arriving in 2018.
Global attention was drawn to the issue when veteran Anzhi Makhachkala full-back Roberto Carlos, a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002, was subjected to abuse by both Zenit St. Petersburg and Krylya Sovetov fans.
As a result of the abuse, which included the former Real Madrid star having a banana thrown at him, both clubs were fined $10,000.
And racism in the Russian Premier League has been brought back into focus by events on Sunday, when Carlos' Congolese teammate Christopher Samba was subjected to the same form of abuse.
Samba, who moved to Anzhi from English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers last month, had a banana thrown at him from the VIP box of Lokomotiv Moscow's Lokomotiv Stadium.
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was handed an eight-match ban by the English Football Association for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in a match in October 2011. Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand during the customary pre-match ritual ahead of the teams' clash on February 12 this year. The Uruguayan has since apologized for his snub of the France defender.
Racism incidents in football
"We are deeply disappointed with the idiotic episode that happened to our player Christopher Samba after the match at Lokomotiv," read a statement from the Dagestan-based team.
"We are assured that the representatives of the football authorities, the security service of Lokomotiv, will settle this issue and the guilty will be identified and punished."
An investigation into the incident was launched on Tuesday and the Russian Football Union (RFU) have now gone one step further by launching a dedicated anti-racism taskforce.
We are deeply disappointed with the idiotic episode that happened to our player
Anzhi Makhachkala statement
"The RFU's ethics committee has decided to create a special working group made up of members of the committee," the organization said on its website. The group will be tasked with battling "racism, xenophobia and extremism."
France-born defender Samba was upset by the incident and slammed the action as a poor example to young fans.
"I`m very upset that such misconduct took place in view of children who were sitting in those very stands. It can serve as a bad example for them.
"I try not to think about racism. I just want to believe that such problems do not exist on a global basis. Maybe I am mistaken but I do want to believe in it.
"As a rule any scandal of this kind is a result of a misconduct committed by one silly person. I don`t want to react to this."
The Russian Premier League vowed to hunt down the fan who had hurled the banana at the 27-year-old.
"Our aim is to find the man who threw banana at Samba," the league's security Alexander Meitin was reported to have said by AFP.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
After a miserable Champions League defeat to Olympiakos, CNN's John Sinnott wonders if Manchester United is officially in trouble.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
CNN's David Ford analyzes the changing face of Manchester City since Barcelona's last visit to the English club 11 years ago.
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
A ruling that Polish fans will not face legal action after anti-Semitic chanting sparks debate over whether it signals acceptance of such attacks.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
If FIFA really cared about gay rights, why did it give the World Cup to a country where homosexuality is illegal, asks CNN's James Masters.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
Today's five most popular stories