The former head of Russian football has questioned why monkey chants at football grounds are automatically assumed to be racist.
Vyacheslav Koloskov also claimed that too much is made of racism in the Russian Premier League and that the authorities in Russia have pushed themselves into a corner.
Koloskov played an integral part in the successful bid for the next World Cup in 2018 to be held in Russia.
When speaking to BBC World Service Sport, he said:
Monkey chants are believed to be racist. Where is it written?
In general, there is the term “racism” (for monkey chants) but there are no terms of racial abuse at sporting events.
Saying this, I don’t mean we should not react but, in my opinion, we have pushed ourselves into a corner with these monkey chants. The punishment for such behaviour should be unavoidable and concrete.
Koloskov also questioned Zenit St Petersburg’s claim that their striker Hulk was racially abused by Torpedo fans during a recent match:
I was at the stadium in Ramenskoye during the match, sitting in the central stand.
A small group of Torpedo fans were far away and I didn’t hear any monkey chants. Neither did the match delegate, who was also sitting there. Only (Zenit coach Andre) Villas-Boas and Hulk heard them.
Koloskov was vice-president of FIFA for 16 years, between 1980 and 1996.