Alarms ring as banana thrown at Carlos
Russia's football authorities vowed to step up the fight against racism Thursday after a fan threw a banana at Roberto Carlos in the latest apparent racial attack on the Brazilian former World Cup winner.
Carlos, a defender for revamped Caucasus side Anzhi Makhachkala since February, received a pass from the goalkeeper and was about to pass it when a banana was thrown on to the pitch, landing nearby.
The 38-year-old Brazilian picked it up and threw it back, walking off the field before the final whistle and raising two fingers at the stands, indicating this was the second such incident since March.
Both Anzhi and their hosts -- Krylya Sovetov of the Volga city of Samara -- denounced the insult and vowed to find the culprit.
"The stadium is no place for racism," Anzhi said in a statement after the match, demanding that the fan be identified and punished.
It is the second such incident in a matter of months. In March a fan was pictured holding the fruit out to Carlos during a game against Zenit Saint Petersburg. Zenit was fined 300,000 roubles ($10,700) and banned the fan from its games.
Carlos has proved a huge success after signing for the Dagestan outfit in February in a late-career move, inspiring the previously marginal team to fourth in the Russian Premier League so far this season.
He has also charmed the Russian public, in football and outside, with his usually smiling demeanour and an apparent genuine interest in the country.
Russia's Premier League issued an appeal to fans to prevent fellow supporters tarnishing the reputation of the Russian game.
"People allowing themselves such outbursts are sitting next to you at the stadiums. If you don't want your club to suffer, don't let them disgrace Russian football," it said.
Carlos was shown after the incident sitting down on the bench and burying his head in a towel in distress. "Such things should not be tolerated in civilised countries," he told Sport Express newspaper after the match.
He added that he "felt deep disappointment and had no desire to continue the game," which Anzhi ended up winning 3-0.