French Sports Minister: International action required to stop Russian monkey chants

Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele seemed to be targeted by sections of the home crowd in St Petersburg on Tuesday

French Sports Minister Laura Flessel has urged action to be taken on an “international level” to prevent a repeat of Tuesday’s scenes, which saw fans make monkey noises during France’s 3-1 win over Russia in St Petersburg.

Racism has been a chief concern of critics of Russia as World Cup hosts in the summer, and fears that the tournament will be blighted with such incidents were raised again after the visiting side appeared to be targeted with such abuse.

Two goals from Kylian Mbappe and a free-kick from Paul Pogba were sufficient to carry Didier Deschamps’ side to a 3-1 win, but it was a match marred by the incidents.

Flessel took to Twitter to express her disgust at what had gone on.

“Racism has no place on the football field,” she said. “We must act together at European and international level to put an end to such unacceptable behaviour.”

Pogba was a particular target of some sections of the home support, while Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele received abuse when he took corners.

The match was the penultimate fixture to be played in Russia before the World Cup begins in June. The last match will take place a little over a week before the competition begins, when the host nation will welcome Turkey.

Russia have failed to win any of their last five international matches, dating back to a 4-2 win over South Korea on October 7.

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