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France coach calls for government action against racism

April 4, 2018

France's players celebrate their victory in the international friendly soccer match between Russia and France at the Saint Petersburg stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, March 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

PARIS (AP) — France coach Didier Deschamps is calling for zero tolerance on racism and for governments to tackle the problem together as FIFA investigates racial abuse that targeted his players at a World Cup tune-up match in Russia.

Speaking Wednesday, Deschamps said his players seemed unaffected by monkey chants heard from the crowd during France’s 3-1 win against Russia in St. Petersburg on March 27.

He said: “They didn’t talk about it. I don’t even know that they noticed.”

Still, the coach said racism “cannot be tolerated” and that “it’s between governments, police services to see that it doesn’t happen.”

He blamed a minority of fans, saying: “It’s always a minority but the minorities are always those we hear most.”

FIFA is collecting evidence of the abuse. It is the third racism case this season at St. Petersburg Stadium, which will host a World Cup semifinal match. Zenit St. Petersburg has twice faced UEFA charges for racism by its fans in Europa League games.

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