FC Dynamo Moscow centre-back Christopher Samba has been handed a two-match ban by the Russian Football Union (RFS) for making an offensive gesture towards Torpedo Moscow supporters who had been racially abusing the former Blackburn and QPR defender during Monday’s Russian Premier League encounter.
During the match at the Saturn Stadium, Torpedo fans directed racial insults towards the Congolese defender, who responded by raising his middle finger towards the stands.
Samba was substituted at halftime of the contest, which Dynamo would go on to win, 3-1.
Last year, Ivorian defender Dacosta Goore was banned two games in Russia for a similar offense, after he showed his middle finger to fans following racist abuse.
Today, the RFS disciplinary committee stated that it considered Samba’s gesture in context of the racial abuse.
“We took into account what happened on the pitch and that he was provoked. Therefore we decided to give the lightest possible punishment,” said Artur Grigoryants, head of the RFS disciplinary committee.
“There was a note in the delegate’s report that throughout the first half there were chants directed at FC Dynamo player Christopher Samba.”
“The delegate confirmed it once again at the meeting. The referee of the match has also informed the committee that Samba told him about chanting during the first corner kick.”
On Tuesday, Dynamo vice-president Gennady Soloviev revealed: “Samba felt offended with Torpedo fans and didn’t want to go on the pitch for the second hald…that’s why he was replaced.”
Samba has apologized for the gesture, but also added: “I want to play football and not have to listen to racial taunts.”
Samba was racially abused in 2012 while playing for Anzhi Makhachkala, when a banana was thrown at him at Lokomotiv Moscow’s stadium. The defender responded by throwing the banana back into the stand and did not face any punishment.
On Thursday, the RFS disciplinary committee looked at the most recent incident involving Samba and punished Torpedo Moscow by ordering their west stand, where the club’s ‘Ultras’ sit, be closed for their next match against Kuban Krasnodar on October 25th.
However, all other parts of the Saturn Stadium will remain open and there is no restriction in place to prevent the Ultras from buying tickets to sit elsewhere in the stadium.