Fernandinho backs Yaya Toure's 2018 World Cup boycott threat

The Ivorian was the subject of monkey chants from CSKA Moscow fans while playing for Manchester City, and his team-mate has called for "harsh punishment" for those involved
Fernandinho has backed Manchester City team-mate Yaya Toure's threat of boycotting the 2018 World Cup if Russia does not tackle the issue of racism in the country.

The Ivorian was the subject of monkey chants from CSKA Moscow fans during the English side's recent 2-1 win, with the club and Uefa subsequently launching an investigation.

Following the game, Toure insisted action must be taken to stamp out abuse ahead of the Russia-hosted tournament in five years' time and Fernandinho believes it is a credible idea.

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"I think is a good idea," he told Perform. "If Uefa and Fifa, they control the world and European football, if they do not do anything, I believe, if nothing happens until 2018, this is something to think about.

"[It] would be very interesting to see what would happen if something like that actually materialized. What supporters would think of black players not playing the World Cup?"

CSKA have since described Toure's claims as "exaggerated", but Fernandinho says his team-mate has been greatly affected by the incident and called for "harsh punishment" for those involved.

He continued: "It was a sad episode. I spoke with him yesterday at the training session. He said he was really upset. He hopes Uefa can do something about it. This is something we cannot accept in football anymore. Not only in football but also in general life.

"I think they must get a harsh punishment. Maybe the Russian FA could do something and ban those supporters from stadiums during a certain period. Uefa has to do something as well in order to avoid that in the future."

Both Fernandinho and Toure have experience playing domestic football in eastern Europe - the former with Shakhtar Donetsk and the latter with Metalurh Donetsk - but the Brazilian believes the problem is mainly found in Russia.

"I’ve spent eight years living in Ukraine and I never had this kind of problem," he said. "I normally say Shakhtar is an exception in Eastern Europe. There are a lot of Brazilians, they [are] treated well and never has anything happened like that.

"I think this is related to the Russian football. We have others examples as well. The Zenit supporters said they would not like black players in the team. This is something concentrated in Russia."