If you’re looking for a litmus test of the controversial civil rights issues in Russia, monitor what happens to FC Rostov manager Igor Gamula in the next few weeks.
Different countries have different cultures and senses of humor, but the Russian Premier League manager made racial comments that could hardly be mistaken for acceptable jokes.
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When asked if Cameroon defender Benoit Angbwa would become the club’s seventh black player, Gamula said the FC Rostov had “enough dark-skinned players, we’ve got six of the things” before moving on to make Ebola jokes.
Gamula also said that five of his Russian players were ill with a high temperature and joked that the Ebola epidemic was the cause.
“I’m already worrying it’s Ebola,” he said, before adding that the reference to the disease was “a joke, obviously.”
Rostov midfielder Moussa Doumbia is from Mali, which has seen sporadic Ebola cases. He played for Gamula’s team in Friday’s 1-0 win over Ural Yekaterinburg.
Gross. Gamula has only been in town since September. Can we confirm he isn’t Sacha Baron Cohen in disguise?
Quips aside, it’ll be interesting to see how this case is handled by Rostov, UEFA and the Russian Premier League. Gamula’s short tenure affords him very little when it comes to his job, though certainly it shouldn’t matter if these comments come from a green manager or a perennial champion.