A letter composed by the largest supporter's firm for Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg asking for an all-white, all-heterosexual squad in the future caused quite a stir among the world football community, but for some players in Russia it's old news.
Congolese international and former Blackburn Rovers player Chris Samba currently plays for Anzhi Makhachkala, and has told many English news sources that he has been the target of many racial taunts by fans in the country that will host the 2018 World Cup.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Samba said:
I'm not surprised. Everybody knows Zenit supporters are no good and racist.
They are living in another century. It's a sad day for Russian football.
In this time we have different communities and countries that constitute teams. If they can't accept that then they are never going to progress.
This isn't Zenit St. Petersburg's first well-documented incident of fan-to-player abuse; back in March of 2011, the club was fined by the Russian Football Union after a fan tossed a banana at Anzhi Makhachkala's Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos.
BBC reports that three years earlier Zenit were fined nearly $60,000 after fans made monkey noises and threw bananas at black Marseille players. In 2011, representatives from the Landscrona fan group (the same group who wrote the open letter to the club this year) told BBC they did not want black players on the team.
According to the article, a person who was an employee of Zenit St. Petersburg at the time said, "We don't have a problem with black players. No black players—no problem."
As for Chris Samba, he says these reports of racism may have an ill effect on Russian football as a whole in preparation for the 2018 World Cup. He told the BBC:
The fact that a lot of players are going to Russia should be promoted. But if we're not welcome then it would be very difficult to change the mentality ahead of the World Cup.
Samba adds there are no plans for black players to boycott in the wake of the racist taunts, saying simply, "Black players should fight for the good ones—not the idiots."