Zenit FC’s Hulk: ‘Homophobic football fans at my club do not think at all’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A footballer at what has been described as Russia’s most racist football club, has heavily criticised fans who supported a manifesto late last year calling for the club to discriminate against gay and black players.

Brazilian player, Givanildo Vieira de Souza, commonly known as Hulk, who signed to Zenit in September, condemned fan club Landscrona for writing the manifesto in December calling for the discrimination . 

He said: “I think those people, those fans, do not care about culture at all. I respect footballers of any skin colour and any sexual orientation.

“Those fans who abuse people of a different colour or gays just do not think at all.”

In December, the largest fan club of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, Landscrona, published a manifesto that attempted to justify a policy of discriminating against black and gay players. In the document, named Selection 12, the group said:

“We are not racists, but the absence of black players in the Zenit lineup is an important tradition that underlines the identity of the club, and nothing more.”

The director of sports at Zenit, Dietmar Beiersdorfer, declined the request of its largest fan club to discriminate against gay and black players.

Luciano Spalletti, the club’s head coach dismissed the request as “stupidity”, and said the team aimed for tolerance and acceptance.

FC Zenit, described by one Russian footballer as one of the most racist football clubs in Russia, is based in the same city that passed a notorious anti-gay censorship law earlier this year.

The club was Russia’s only top-flight football team without a black player, until last summer.