Manchester a 'dirty city full of drunks and men kissing in the street', says Zorya chief in homophobic rant

Sergei Rafailov has launched an astonishing verbal attack on the city of Manchester following last week's Europe League encounter at Old Trafford

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The Independent Football

The chief executive of Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk has launched a verbal attack on the city of Manchester following their Europa League match against Manchester United, and made extraordinary homophobic comments about “men kissing on the street”.

Sergei Rafailov spoke to BBC North West Tonight to condemn Manchester as a “dirty city” after seeing his side lose 1-0 to United in the Europa League group stage last week. The club’s chief executive also criticised the volume of alcohol that people in Manchester consumed, before launching a disgraceful attack on gay men for kissing in public.

“When we were in England we were only in Manchester and I did not like the city,” Rafailov said. “It was very dirty. Near the hotel, which was, incidentally, in the city centre, there were homeless people sleeping on the pavement at night.

“I went out for a walk in the evening and went a little further from the centre. It was even worse there. Masses of drunk people. It was bizarre for me to see men walking down the street and kissing. I did not like it.

“I would suggest we think about European integration 20 times [before we accept it]. I would not like my grandchildren to go outside and see men kissing and homeless people sleeping in the centre of the city.”

United travel to Ukraine to face Zorya in the return fixture on 8 December where tensions may be high following Rafailov’s remarks, which are all the more surprising given that the club are unable to play at their Avanhard Stadium due to the civil war in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed rebels and the government.

The Avanhard Stadium was hit by heavy shelling that left it damaged, with a crater in the middle of the pitch caused by one explosion during the conflicts. Despite tensions easing slightly in recent months, it remains a no-go are according to the British Foreign Office, and Zorya do not expect to return to the stadium for the next five years at least.


As a result, Zorya play their home matches in Zaporizhia, 200 miles away from Luhansk, at the Zaporizhia Arena. For their European exploits, they will travel a further 300 miles to Odessa to take on United at the Chornomorets Stadium.