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Dynamo Moscow defender Christopher Samba has been banned for two matches by the Russian Football Union after responding to racist abuse in a match against Torpedo Moscow.

FIFPro believes this is the wrong signal to the world of football. 

The Congolese defender, who has played for Blackburn Rovers and QPR made a hand gesture to Torpedo fans during the match on September 22nd.

“FIFPro believes the ban for Samba is the wrong signal to the world of football”, says Tony Higgins. FIFPro spokesperson on anti-racism. “By sanctioning Samba, the abusers now see that they have a result by racially offending players. The club is sanctioned as well but in a different way."

“Of course the Disciplinary Committee is right in considering the fact that the player is provoked. On the other hand a proportionate fine or a conditional suspension would be more appropriate.

“It must be considered that a player can hardly defend himself in a situation like this and when the referee and officials do not act while they should it is not right to put the burden on the player.”

Artur Grigoryants of the RFU disciplinary committee said that “We took into account what happened on the pitch and that he was provoked. Therefore we decided to give the lightest possible punishment.” Torpedo Moscow will have part of their stadium closed for their next match because of the racist abuse.

Higgins continues: “If it is really the case that a player cannot get a lesser sanction than two matches , the Russian federation’s (RFU) regulations have to be changed. A Committee must have full discretion to judge on a case by case basis and have the possibility to give only a symbolic sanction.”

“Next to that, the RFU must also introduce the UEFA three-step protocol as soon as possible.”

Ged Grebby, Chief Executive at Show Racism the Red Card said, “It is extremely worrying that this kind of racist abuse is ongoing in Russian football, especially when you consider the World Cup will be hosted by Russia in 2018.”

“Really the RFU need to do more to protect players from racism and the best way to see real change would be an educational campaign aimed at supporters and young people."

Back in 2012, Samba was racially abused by Lokomotiv Moscow fans when playing his third game for Anzi Makachkala. Later that year he commented on an extraordinary open letter from Zenit St Petersburg fans that stated that black players were being “forced down Zenit’s throat".

See an interview of Christopher Samba with Show Racism the Red Card: