Torpedo Moscow Cancel Contract of Black Footballer After Fan Protests

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 22: Fans of FC Torpedo Moscow during the Russian Premier League match between FC Torpedo Moscow and FC Rostov at the Eduard Streltsov Stadium on November 22, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images

Torpedo Moscow have rescinded the contract of Erving Botaka-Yoboma after supporters protested against the new signing because of his race.

As relayed by Martin Boychuk of Goal, Torpedo president Elena Yelentseva confirmed the decision after a backlash from supporters.

In addition to their racial objections, fans of the Moscow club were reportedly unhappy Botaka-Yoboma's previously played for Torpedo's local rivals Lokomotiv Moscow.

As noted by Boychuk, the defender is a Russian citizen and a product of the Torpedo academy setup. Journalist Artur Petrosyan provided a translation of a banner supporters unveiled following Botaka-Yoboma's signing:

Artur Petrosyan @arturpetrosyan

"We have black in our colours, but only white in the line-up," reads the Torpedo ultras' status 2 days ago. The club's nickname is Black-and-Whites. https://t.co/A6p58K0KlN

Alexander Zotov, who is the head of the All-Russian Union of Footballers, condemned the Torpedo supporters, per Tom Farmery of the MailOnline.

"There have been changes in attitude after the World Cup, but a group of idiots still remains," Zotov said. "People with a limited worldview exist in any country. We saw how open our society and people were [during the World Cup]."

Per Farmery, the club's owner Roman Avdeyev had previously said "there is no 'skin colour' in our criteria."

As noted by Boychuk, Russian clubs have faced similar issues before. In 2012, Zenit St Petersburg supporters wrote an open letter to the club calling for all black players to be left out of the side after the signings of Hulk and Axel Witsel.