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Yaya Toure threatens 2018 World Cup boycott

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The potential boycott of the 2018 World Cup by black players might be unlikely, but Yaya Toure’s stand has at least made it a possibility. The Manchester City midfielder reacted angrily and determinedly after suffering racist abuse during City’s Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow.

UEFA is launching an enquiry into the abuse although the Russian club’s actions in the aftermath already look suspicious. They responded to Toure’s accusations with a blanket denial and their website featured a supposed quote from their striker (and Toure’s Ivory Coast teammate) Seydou Doumbia claiming that CSKA fans "make no racist chants," and that Toure had "obviously overreacted a little bit."

The plot thickened when Doumbia denied he had said anything of the sort. CSKA’s excuses seem like a stupid tactic given the weight of broadcast and witness evidence supporting Toure’s claims.

Toure was sickened by the experience and argued that it was an issue Russia had to resolve before the 2018 World Cup. "Otherwise, if we are not confident coming to the World Cup in Russia, we don't come."

Toure, who experienced racist abuse on a smaller scale when he played in Ukraine, insisted that the problem was more widespread in Russia. "If UEFA don't take action, it will continue," he said. "I don't know what else to say. A couple of months ago my friend [Kevin-Prince Boateng], who plays with Milan, had the same problem. Now with me, it happens again. I hope they ban the club or the stadium for two years."

Toure’s idea follows closely on a campaign to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi because of the country’s homophobia, a problem that emanates from the highest political circles.

The obstacle is that FIFA, like the International Olympic Committee, has never been too concerned about a host nation’s attitudes to basic human rights, just so long as the stadia are built and the sponsors’ cash flows freely.

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