Yaya Toure today warned the Ivory Coast will boycott the World Cup in Russia unless the country tackles racism – as Paul Lambert backed Villa to walk off if they suffered abuse.
Manchester City midfielder Toure has threatened to snub the World Cup in 2018 after he claimed he was the victim of monkey chants from CSKA Moscow fans.
UEFA are investigating after City made an official complaint but CSKA deny any racist chanting took place during their 2-1 Champions League defeat on Wednesday.
But Toure insisted his country, should they qualify, will not take part in the World Cup if they don’t see racism stamped out.
“If we aren’t confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia, we don’t come,” said the Ivory Coast ace.
The Russian club said it was “surprised and disappointed” by Toure’s allegation and will face a disciplinary hearing on October 30.
If found guilty, UEFA could force CSKA to close part of its stadium for a future game.
A club statement read: “Having carefully studied the video of the game, we found no racist insults from fans of CSKA.”
The Russian side’s own Ivory Coast player, striker Seydou Doumbia, added: “I didn’t hear anything like that from the CSKA fans.
“Yes, they’re always noisy in supporting the team and try to put as much pressure as possible on our opponents, but they wouldn’t ever allow themselves to come out with racist chants. So my Ivory Coast colleague is clearly exaggerating.”
And Villa chief Lambert insisted he would back his players to walk off if they were victims and called for tougher punishments.
“I would (back them), yes. You are in it together. If you are winning, losing or drawing it’s immaterial. There’s no place for that. There’s never a place for that in society, let alone a football stadium,” he said, ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Everton.
“People say they’re going to do X, Y and Z and punish them, but the punishment is never strong enough. There’s never been one massive statement made I don’t think, that has made people think ‘We can’t be doing that’.
“It’s always little sanctions and little things, there’s never been a proper statement made to eradicate that. I just know that if you’re making these remarks, there’s got to be a one-for-all sort of punishment.”
“If that happens in any walk of life there’s got to be a massive punishment on it, whether it’s financial or you get banned from playing in Europe, I don’t know.
“There needs to be more structure, but I think it’s got to be a bigger hit.”