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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Claims Against Racist Fans Land Spartak in Hot Water

Saturn football club accused Spartak Moscow fans of racism in an open letter to the heads of the Russian Football Union and the Premier League on Thursday. The team from the Moscow region said their Ghanian striker, Baffour Gyan, had cried "like a child" after he had been racially abused during Saturn's 1-1 home draw against Spartak on Wednesday.

"Such a wild outburst of nationalism has not yet been seen in Russian football," said the letter noting that such outbursts were especially frequent among Spartak fans. A flag bearing a swastika was unveiled by Spartak fans during a match in Yaroslavl against Shinnik, the letter said.

Gyan was sent off in injury time of the match after he gave the finger to Spartak fans who had been making monkey noises at him for most of the match, the striker told Sovietsky Sport news agency. Saturn accused Spartak captain Yegor Titov of unsportsmanlike behavior for calling the referee's attention to the gesture Gyan made.

The governor of Yaroslavl, Anatoly Lisitsyn, also sent an open letter to football chiefs Thursday complaining about the behavior of Spartak fans during their visit to Yaroslavl, gazeta.ru reported.

Spartak responded in a statement on their web site by saying Spartak fans did not racially abuse Gyan. It noted that Gyan was famous for his chronic problems with discipline and accused him of using the accusation of racism to avoid being punished by the RFU.

Spartak blamed law enforcement organs in Yaroslavl for failing to arrest those who unveiled the flag.