Russian club Torpedo Moscow have cancelled the signing of defender Erving Botaka-Yoboma
Torpedo Moscow have cancelled the transfer of defender Erving Botaka-Yoboma following angry fan protests and racist abuse.
Botaka-Yoboma, who is of African descent but Russian-born, joined Torpedo this week after leaving Lokomotiv-Kazanka Moscow.
Supporters of the third division club had protested against the 19-year-old black defender’s signing, with some engaging in racist abuse online. But in a club statement issued on Friday, Torpedo insisted that the collapse of the transfer was purely down to financial factors.
‘We declare that our transfer policy is exclusively based on sports principles. We oppose any form of discrimination.
‘The cancellation of Erving Botaka-Yoboma’s transfer is solely related to the cost of transfer.
‘Erving Botaka-Yoboma was offered to sign a contract, the transfer was to take place free of charge. However, on July 17, 2018, we received a letter from the previous club of the player with a warning about a compensation payout requirement.
‘In accordance with the policy of the club, which does not include payment for transfers, the transition did not take place.
‘There were no other reasons to refuse the services of the football player.
‘We will make every effort to ensure that such situations will not occur in the future.’
Fans of FC Torpedo Moscow had slammed the club’s decision to sign a ‘black’ player
Earlier this week, the club’s owner Roman Avdeyev and a number of other Russian football officials had been forced to condemn comments from a group of fans known as the Zapad-5 Ultras, who wrote on social media that ‘there is only white in our supporters’ ranks.’
Avdeyev had previously defended the decision to sign Botaka-Yoboma, who is also a former academy player of FC Torpedo Moscow.
He said: ‘There is no ‘skin colour’ in our criteria. We’ve never noticed it and will never notice it.’
Botaka-Yoboma pictured last season when he was playing for Lokomotiv-Kazanka Moscow
Alexander Zotov, who is head of the All-Russian Union of Footballers, said the ‘idiots’ weren’t representative of football fans in Russia.
‘There have been changes in attitude after the World Cup, but a group of idiots still remains,’ Zotov said.
‘People with a limited worldview exist in any country. We saw how open our society and people were [during the World Cup].’
Torpedo Moscow have announced that a press conference will take place on Friday afternoon where both Botaka-Yoboma and president Elena Yelentseva are expected to give statements.
The Russian third division side have blamed financial factors for the transfer’s collapse