The Russian Football Union have moved to appoint their first anti-racism official in a bid to help rid the country of its racist discrimination ahead of the World Cup in 2018, Yahoo Sports reports.
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Alexei Tolkachev has been named “anti-racism inspector” by RFU president Nikolai Tolstykh, though it is as yet unsure as to what exactly the role will involve.
Tolkachev already acts as the RFU’s Head of Safety and and fan outreach, but has been boosted up into a more specific role as the country looks to shed its negative image before the tournament starts in just over three-years time.
The RFU will look to open up more extensive investigations into racial incidents and tighten up enforcement of the new rules.
FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb welcomed the appointment on his personal Twitter account upon the announcement by saying: “I commend The Russian Football Union for taking a step in the right direction by appointing Anti-Racism Inspector Alexei Tolkachev.”
Webb had previously claimed that Russia needed some heavy education efforts to combat racism, as it is believed that there have been over 200 cases of discriminatory behaviour recorded at Russian league games over the past two seasons.