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The club “Torpedo” refused a black player a week after signing. Against him were the fans

The fans wrote in social networks that “Torpedo plays white” and “there are black ones in ours, but only white in the ranks.”

Erving Botaka-Ioffoma

“Torpedo plays white”

July 13, the Moscow football club “Torpedo”, speaking in the Second Division, announced the transfer to the team of 19-year-old defender Erving Botak-Iobom. It was reported that the contract with him was signed before the end of the season 2018/2019.

Botak-Iobom was born in Pushkin outside Moscow and since childhood has been speaking for the “Youth of Moscow-Torpedo”, winning in its composition at Russian tournaments. Later, the football player played in the youth teams of “Lokomotiv” – one of the main rivals of “Torpedo”. “I am very glad that I returned home. “Torpedo” in my heart, and I’ll fight for the club, I’ll try to show my best game. The most important thing is for the fans to accept me, “Botak-Yomboma said after the transfer.

But the fans did not accept it. In the “West-5 Ultras” community, which has more subscribers in “VKontakte” than the official public Torpedo, they opposed the signing of a black player. The fans said that the actions of the leadership show disrespect for their traditions and rules.

In another record, the fans stressed : “Our colors have black, but in the ranks – only white.”

Criticism was lacking in the official Torpedo community. Other users, on the contrary, supported the player, noting that for them the color of the skin is not important.

A few days later representatives of West-5 Ultras added that one of the principal points for them was Botak-Iobom’s performance for the “enemy” club Lokomotiv. Fans promised to solve the issue with the newcomer in negotiations with the club’s management.

Refusal from the beginner

Botak-Iobom – not the first black player in the history of the “Torpedo”. In 1997, the team moved to the Nigerian Augustin Egavon, who became the first African in the Russian Championship. In the club he played about a year and told in an interview that he did not face any manifestations of racism in the country.

Collage from the “West-5 Ultras” community

The last time Torpedo played in the Russian Football Premier League in the season 2014/2015. Then the fans of the team several times accused of manifesting racism in the stands: they booed five players, “Rostov” and one player, “Dynamo”, as well as “hooted” the Brazilian Hulk from Zenit. For the incident with the Hulk the club held two home games without spectators.

The leadership of “Torpedo” condemned the behavior of the fans. According to theowner of the club Roman Avdeev, the team does not have among the criteria for selecting players the item “skin color”, so no one paid attention to it during the transition of Batak-Iomba. The president of “Torpedo” Elena Elentseva and the head of the All-Russian trade union of football players Alexander Zotov also condemned the manifestations of racism on the part of the fans.

Changes in the minds of people after the World Cup have occurred, but there is still a group of idiots. These people with limited horizons exist in any country. We saw how open our society and people are. No need to mix everything up.

I read a lot of statements about the football player. Some were openly racist. Others were directed against the fact that he played in the “Torpedo”, then left, and now returned again. But this is stupid.

Alexander Zotov
head of the All-Russian Footballers’ Union

July 19 in Moscow, a presentation of the newcomers “Torpedo”, which was invited to the fans. Among the players was not Erving Batak-Iobom. Elentseva confirmed tojournalists that the football player will not play for the club, but did not disclose details.

Courts and Manifesto

This is not the first case of the fight between the fans of Russian football clubs with the involvement of black players. In 2012, the fans of “Zenith” presented a manifesto, dedicated to the selection of newcomers to the team. Among the paragraphs of the document – a request to preserve the “identity of the club” and “impose” black athletes.

We are not racists, and for us the absence of black players in the “Zenith” is just an important tradition, emphasizing the identity of the club and nothing more. Thanks to its preservation, Zenit in the football world has its own face, along with a few football clubs that have retained their identity.

We have absolutely nothing against the inhabitants of Africa, South America and any other continents, but at the same time we want the players who are close in spirit and mentality to play for Zenit first of all. Now, “Zenith” black players are forced almost by force, and this only causes a backlash.

from the manifesto of fans of “Zenith”

There were also examples when the clubs stood up for their black players. In September 2017, the Kaliningrad newspaper Novye Kolesa published an article “The Negro Negro Against a Judge” about a football player of the local “Baltika”. The team because of this threatened the publication of the court, accusing journalists of racism.

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