Russia’s first-round exit from the World Cup might have sparked angry condom throwing and furious debates in Parliament but one Orthodox priest is rejoicing over the end of the “homosexual abomination”.
Alexander Shumsky took exception to the brightly coloured football shoes worn by players competing in Brazil, the Moscow Times reported.
In a column for Russian People’s Line, a Christian website, he claimed that players wearing green, yellow, pink or blue shoes were promoting the “gay rainbow”.
"Wearing pink or blue shoes, [the squad] might as well wear women's knickers or a bra," Shumsky wrote, adding that he was also offended by the "unthinkable" hairstyles of some of players.
The Russian team were not alone sporting neon shoes, with England players and teams from many countries choosing bright designs for Brazil.
Shumsky believes that football is being used to “oppose Christianity” around the world.
"The liberal ideology of globalism clearly wants to oppose Christianity with football. I'm sure of it,” he wrote.
“Therefore I am glad that the Russian players have failed and, by the grace of God, no longer participate in this homosexual abomination."
Video: Too bright? Check out the Russian players' boots as they train
Russia played only three World Cup matches and failed to get out of the group stages with two draws and a loss.
The country has drawn international condemnation for a crackdown on LGBT rights, with a law against so-called “gay propaganda” coming into effect last month.
The announcement that it will host the next World Cup in 2018 prompted controversy over gay discrimination, alleged racism at football matches and recent events in Crimea.