Wednesday Apr 18, 2018. 11:00
Former Nigeria international Peter Odemwingie says the level of racism in Russia is being exaggerated by the international media.
FIFA is currently investigating allegations of racist abuse directed at French players by Russian fans during a friendly on March 27 in St. Petersburg.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Alex Iwobi was subjected to racist abuse during Arsenal's Europa League quarterfinal tie at Russian club CSKA Moscow.
However, Odemwingie – who played for Lokomotiv Moscow from 2007 to 2010 – believes Russia is a more open-minded society than outsiders would expect, and pointed out that compatriot Ahmed Musa would not have come back to CSKA on loan if racism was prevalent.
“I'm sure that in Russia there is no such problem in general, otherwise Musa would not come back, other guys would not have come in. This problem is exaggerated,” Odemwingie told reporters, according to RIA Novosti.
“Even the head coach of England Gareth Southgate recently said that this issue is being exaggerated. There are everywhere, even in England, people like him should speak, not to run away from the problem, but to solve.
“In Russia, many people will come to the World Cup, they need to change their perceptions, they will communicate with people, see how it really is.”