CSKA Moscowcoach Leonid Slutsky says that the reaction to the racist abuse Yaya Toure received two weeks ago in Russia was “exaggerated.”
Slutsky was speaking ahead of CSKA’s return trip to face Manchester City in the Champions League, and he has categorically denied that his club, players and fans are generally racist.
CSKA denied that Toure was subjected to racist monkey chants in their stadium, but Uefa has decided to punish the Russian club by closing one stand when Bayern Munich visit in the Champions League.
However, Slutsky continues to deny that CSKA is a club beset by racism.
"It is normal we are against racism in our team," he said. "We have black players and we give them support. We did not hear any racist chants [so] it is difficult to comment.
"The club is categorically against racism but we think the situation has been very exaggerated and there was an overreaction. We have received our punishment – it was up to Uefa to impose it."
Pressed on whether or not he is sorry that Yaya Toure suffered in Russia, Slutsky added: "We are sorry that such unpleasant incident took place."
Meanwhile, City continue to give their unreserved support to African superstar Toure, with manager Manuel Pellegrini saying the Ivorian “can’t forget” what happened to him in Russia.
"The fans of CSKA made an important mistake,” Pellegrini said.
“The club, I don't know why they denied at the beginning or what their reaction is now but Uefa acted and gave them the punishment they deserve. I hope we can leave it in the past and [the same] for Russian fans because they have a World Cup in their country."
"What happened in Moscow was really hard for Yaya. We are all behind him and any time we see something like that we try to help the players,” Toure’s team-mate Pablo Zabaleta added.
"Hopefully Uefa is always on it. As players we can do nothing; we just need to give a massive support to the black players when they have some problems like that. Let me talk about football, that is the most important thing."