FIFA said on Tuesday it had fined the Russian Football Union 30,000 Swiss francs ($30,000) for racist abuse directed at French players by Russian fans during a pre-World Cup friendly.
A Reuters photographer at pitch level for France’s 3-1 win against Russia in March in St Petersburg heard monkey chants directed at French players on several occasions, including when N’Golo Kante came to the sideline for a throw-in.
Russia has pledged to crack down on racism as the country faces increased scrutiny ahead of this year’s World Cup, which it will host from June 14 to July 15 in 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.
FIFA says its disciplinary panel noted “the gravity of the incident but also the limited number of fans involved.”
FIFA says the panel, chaired by judge Anin Yeboah of Ghana, made a “thorough investigation including the review of video evidence.”
The stadium in St. Petersburg will host seven World Cup games, including Russia’s Group A game against Egypt and a semifinal match.
The case follows racism charges by UEFA against Zenit St. Petersburg in two Europa League games this season.