MOSCOW (AP) — Russian soccer champion Spartak Moscow was accused of racism on Saturday after tweeting a message which appeared to refer to its own black players as “chocolates.”
A video posted on the club’s Twitter account showed Brazilian players Luiz Adriano, Pedro Rocha and Fernando exercising during a training camp in the United Arab Emirates. A message which translated as “see how the chocolates melt in the sun” accompanied the video, followed by three emojis of a smiley face.
The same phrase is heard during the video, apparently spoken by Spartak and Russia defender Georgy Dzhikiya. Spartak earlier said Dzhikiya would take control of its Twitter feed for the day.
Spartak later posted a video in which Fernando says: “At Spartak there is no racism. We are a friendly family.”
The original post was then deleted, before the club uploaded a third video with Dzhikiya and the three Brazilians in a group hug.
“We’re all one big family,” Dzhikiya said, before Luiz Adriano added: “This is my friend, my brother … a legend of Spartak. I love you, my friend.”
Russia is hosting the World Cup in June.