Alexei Smertin is going to head the committee of the Russian Federation which will work towards the complete abolition of racism in the game.
Smertin served the Red Army with distinction and is well respected as a player, but, in this case, he is definitely an interesting and an eyebrow-raising choice
That’s because Smertin is someone who has denied in the past that the racist incidents even happen in his country and has slammed the journalists from outside for highlighting this issue just to ruin Russia’s image.
Smertin had admitted last year that the opposition has to take a bit of a verbal stick from the Russian Football supporters, but, he had insisted that the supporters never comment personally on any player and their words are instead always directed towards the opposition team.
Smertin had also shockingly said in that same interview that throwing bananas towards guys who have dark skin is only a way of having fun for the Russian audience and it can’t be seen in the light of racism.
So, how can such an individual be supposed to be taking the right and appropriate steps to ensure that none of the players ever have to come across racism while playing on the Russian land?
However, addressing the media for the first time since being named the head of the anti-racism committee, Smertin vowed to change the image of Russia and prove to everyone around the world that there is no intolerance in the country at all.
In the space of the next 24 months, there’s going to be two big tournaments in Russia. One is of course the World Cup which everyone knows about, but, before that, Confederations Cup has to be hosted as well later this year and a lot of eyes will be on the behaviour of the local fans during that tournament.