Russian Club Spartak Moscow Spark Racism Row With Offensive Video

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Russian champions Spartak Moscow, already sanctioned by UEFA this season for racist behaviour, sparked further condemnation on Saturday after a club tweet that likened its black players to "chocolates".

Spartak are now in the UAE for a warm-weather training camp during the Russian Premier League's winter break.

The Russian side posted the offending tweet (that at the time of writing is somehow still up) as a caption in a video that featured black players training in the sun - and also included chocolate bar emojis just in case their words weren't conveying the message well enough.

The original post was then deleted, before the club uploaded a third video with Dzhikiya and the three Brazilians in a group hug.

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The tweet was published around 0900 GMT and retweeted over 1,400 times, triggering a wave of criticism before it was deleted nearly five hours later. Spartak were charged with racism in December 2017, after Liverpool youngster Ryan Brewster accused any opposition player of racially abusing him during their UEFA Youth League clash. The players had their arms around each other, and Adriano said, "This is my friend, my brother".

Spartak were instantly condemned on Twitter after posting the video with social media users calling the club a "disgrace" and accusing them of racism.

"This shows a shocking level of ignorance".

But Russia has vowed to ensure fans' safety when it hosts the 2018 World Cup by cracking down on both hooliganism and racism.

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Football equality group Kick it Out also criticised Spartak, saying the post "only continues to highlight the prejudices towards black people in Russian Federation".

"It is a reminder, that along with the whole of football, there is significant work to do to eradicate racism of all forms from the sport".

In September, Liverpool's Nigeria-born attacker Bobby Adekanye was subjected to racist chants and gestures from Spartak supporters in Moscow during a Uefa Youth League game.

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