In their meeting in Moscow, Liverpool’s U23 match against Spartak’s youth side saw the home fans racially abusing Liverpool attacker Bobby Adekanye. The reaction by UEFA was a pitiful slap on the wrist—less than that, even—as Spartak’s U23 side had to leave 500 seats unfilled at their next match.
It perhaps wasn’t surprising, then, that when Spartak came to England for the reverse fixture on Wednesday, there were again charges of racial abuse. This time, though, they were against a Spartak youth player, the club’s U23 captain Leonid Mironov, and he has today been officially charged by UEFA.
Hopefully this time around, with it being a club player rather than nameless supporters, UEFA will find the willpower to hand out a proper punishment—and if UEFA’s ethics committee does in fact find the player guilty of racial abuse, the minimum punishment is meant to be a rather more serious one, a ten-game ban.
Mironov has been charged with racially abusing Liverpool’s 17-year-old striker Rhian Brewster, who recently earned headlines in England for his key role in England’s U17 World Cup triumph and who has been a key player for Liverpool’s league and Champions League U23 sides.
At the end of the match, teammates and youth manager Steven Gerrard had to restrain Brewster, who had been targeted by Spartak captain Mironov throughout the second half. The incidents were then reported to the fourth official and, today, UEFA have confirmed that enough evidence exists to charge Mironov.
“Less than two months ago, Spartak Moscow supporters were found guilty of racially abusing Liverpool’s Bobby Adenkanye,” began a statement from Kick It Out on the most recent incident involving Spartak Moscow and charges of racial abuse. “However it is clear Uefa’s punishment was far from sufficient.
“Kick It Out has worked closely with Liverpool over the past two years to offer support regarding on-field incidents of discrimination, and believes the club has been let down by Uefa in their response. Should the Spartak Moscow player be found guilty, the club must receive a far stronger punishment.
“It is also extremely concerning to this organisation that yet another incident has taken place involving a Russian club, particularly ahead of the 2018 World Cup.”