Yaya Toure brands alleged racist abuse on Twitter a 'disgrace'

Manchester City midfielder allegedly targeted after reactivating his account

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The Independent Football

Manchester City’s Champions League game tonight has been overshadowed by the latest incident of racist abuse against Yaya Touré, which the police are investigating.

“For me it’s a disgrace,” said City’s Ivorian talisman after finding himself under attack on his Twitter feed just hours after returning to the social media site after a self-imposed five-month absence.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s match at home to CSKA Moscow, he added: “We need to do something to try to tell people those kinds of behaviour have to stop. I want those people to understand what they’re doing is wrong.

“To have such aggression in sport, I can’t understand that. That’s why I’ve been trying to fight it. Football doesn’t have a colour. We’re just people from all over the world trying to enjoy the game. I never see this in rugby, I never see it in tennis or anything else. I don’t know where it’s coming from.”

The matter has been taken up by the police, while a spokesman for the anti-racism charity Kick it Out said the abuse was “of an appalling nature”.

The spokesman added: “We are disturbed by the fact that someone can be treated this way. We will offer Yaya Touré our full support.”

It is understood two tweets are under investigation, one from an account since deleted named @CFCZone.

Touré added: “For me it’s OK because I have experience, but for young lads who will maybe go on Twitter and find that... First, they’ll be afraid, second they’ll close their account,” he told the BBC.

“I’ve been attacked like that for many years. I will never stop telling them they are wrong and have to change.”

Racist problems have already caused the away leg against CSKA Moscow to be played in an empty stadium, and the new abuse once more thrusts the issue of racism to the forefront of this particular Champions League engagement. Supporters of tonight’s Russian visitors are banned from attending under the terms of a sanction being served for racist abuse aimed at Roma’s players in a group fixture in Italy in September.

The home fixture against City a fortnight ago was played behind closed doors as part of the same punishment, the second such sanction imposed on Moscow in the space of 12 months following the abuse of Touré in a Champions League match last October.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes the matter will not have a negative impact on his playmaker, however. “I think Yaya is an experienced player,” he said. “He is always trying to fight against those things but I don’t think he will have any problem about that – to play in the way he knows to do it.”

 

City might have been five up at half-time in Moscow yet somehow conspired to turn a 2-0 lead into a draw, giving them only their second point of the campaign.

Pellegrini maintains his team will still go through and has targeted two wins in the home games against Moscow and Bayern Munich before the trip to Rome next month, which he claims will decide who joins the German champions in the knockout stages.

“It is impossible to be sure but I think this group will be decided in the last game in Italy, against Roma. We will see what happens. We are going to try to win our two games at home and see what the other teams do but I am sure this will be decided in the last game,” Pellegrini said.

Since the manager was brought in to achieve what Roberto Mancini could not, success in Europe, it is self-evident that City cannot afford another setback in what has been a curious campaign. The loss in Munich was perhaps undeserved but in the home draw with Roma, City displayed their maddening inability to crack the European code.

“It is very important [we progress],” Pellegrini added. “In the last three years we won two Premier Leagues and one runner-up and won two cups also – the FA Cup and the League Cup – so you must add international games with the Champions League.

“We did last year one stage more than the other years. I hope that this year we are going to continue improving.”

The Chilean even suggested that City could still win this season’s tournament, adding: “Of course our target is always to try and win the Champions League. We must put in our mind that we are able to do it, that we have a good squad.

“Maybe there are five or six squads better or the same level as our squad that also want to do it but with a winning mentality and an ambitious mind, you must always think you can do it. I think we have time to prove it.”

Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov and midfielder Frank Lampard will miss tonight’s game. Kolarov faces a month out after suffering a calf injury in the warm-up for Sunday’s derby win over Manchester United, while former England international Lampard is not yet ready to return after a thigh problem.

Defender Eliaquim Mangala, who also missed the derby, is available again after overcoming a hip injury, but playmaker David Silva (knee) is out for three weeks.

Meanwhile, a City supporters’ group is urging fans to show their frustration with Uefa prior to the game. The 1894 Group is backing a fan’s suggestion that supporters turn their backs and boo when the competition’s anthem is played. The group believes City fans were treated badly by the European governing body after the club’s game in Moscow was ordered to be played behind closed doors.

The announcement was made after many City fans had made travel plans for the game. Uefa has refused to reimburse those travelling from Manchester.

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