By ADAM TROXTELL
A FIFA vice president has expressed concerns over Russia’s issues with racism ahead of the country hosting the 2018 World Cup.
Jeffrey Webb, who is also president of CONCACAF, said the World Cup could be moved if current perceived levels of racism persist. This is a concern for FIFA, Webb said, although the tournament offers a chance to change the mood in Russia.
“It’s a huge opportunity to influence some change, and we better influence some change over the next three years,” Webb told ESPN. “We have to. We can’t have a World Cup there under the current conditions.”
Webb called Russia a “huge challenge” for FIFA. He also said that the country’s minister for sport, Vitaly Mutko, has acknowledged the issue and is hopeful programs will soon be put in place to improve the situation.
Racism has caused problems in Russian league games in the past. One of the more recent incidents occurred when Brazilian striker Hulk was subjected to racial abuse last September while playing for Zenit St. Petersburg. There was a similar incident in 2013 with Manchester City’s Yaya Toure during a game against CSKA Moscow.
Here are some more news and notes for your Friday afternoon:
LOW EXTENDS GERMANY CONTRACT
Joachim Low’s time with Germany will include at least one more World Cup.
The world champion German coach has officially extended his deal with the DFB through the 2018 World Cup. His contract had been due to expire after the 2016 European Championship in France.
Low has taken Germany to at least the semifinal stage in every major tournament he has coached so far. His success culminated last summer when the Germans lifted the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
VAN GAAL SAYS FALCAO’S OUTING WITH U-21s A MATTER OF PRACTICE
Being dropped to the reserve team is branded by some as punishment for an out-of-form player, but Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal doesn’t see it that way.
The Dutchman said Radamel Falcao’s outing with the Man United Under-21 squad this week was not intended to humiliate the Colombian striker, who has struggled for form since he joined the club on loan from Monaco. Van Gaal said it was simply club practice.
“I have read that is was a humiliation, but I do not see that,” Van Gaal told reporters. “That is one of my aspects that I let my players play in the second quad. It is a professional attitude of the management, the club, but especially also for the player.”
Falcao has scored four goals in 15 appearances for Man United this season. He did not make it off the bench during the club’s 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Monday.
What do you make of these reports? Should Russia lose its World Cup hosting rights over racism? How many more chances should Falcao be given to succeed at Manchester United? Think Germany will continue to find success under Low?
Share your thoughts below.