An official parade organised by Russia just less than a month before the city hosts Cameroon for a Confederations Cup match, has raised racism concerns about football matches.
During the Russian carnaval Sochi fest parade on Saturday May 27, official marchers could be seen carrying bananas and wearing afro wig. Media reports say a photograph from state news agency Tass, showed a man in a Cameroon jersey with his face and arms painted black beating a drum at the parade.
Since Saturday’s parade, many have wondered whether non-white fans and players will be comfortable at the two huge international football tournaments.
Reacting to the concerns, Sochi city government said in a statement that the parade was a “celebration of the different continents and a testimony of Russia’s open attitude toward traditions from around the globe.”
“By no means did the carnival parade intend to insult anyone,” it said. “On the contrary, it was organized with the friendliest of goals in mind: to create a positive atmosphere. We look forward to warmly welcoming the Cameroon national team and its fans, as well as the representatives of all other countries, during the FIFA Confederations Cup.”
Cameroon will play Germany at Fisht stadium in Sochi, which was built for the 2014 Winter Olympics, on 25 June. Mexico will play New Zealand at the stadium on 21 June