FC Rostov head coach Igor Gamula has been suspended for five matches after being found guilty of making racist comments, the Russian Football Union (RFS) said in a statement.
Gamula had been asked at a news conference after the match against Ural Ekaterinburg on October 31 if Rostov had signed Cameroon defender, Benoit Angbwa, who attended the game.
“We already have six black players, do you want me to get a seventh? Angbwa just lives here, we will not be buying him,” he said.
The 54-year-old Gamula’s comments caused a storm in the media, especially in Britain.
“I immediately told the journalist that my remarks were between him and me and it was a joke. He took the quote and published it,” Gamula said.
“I will say it again – it was a joke. I have a great relationship with all the team’s dark skinned players. The British press just doesn’t understand our Russian humour.”
Rostov’s South Africa central defender Siyanda Xulu was offended by the comments and said he would not train until Gamula apologised to all of the club’s dark skinned players.
Gamula personally said sorry to each of the players in question and they all shook hands with him.
“Of course, you need to watch what you say, especially when we are trying to battle against racism,” RFS vice president Nikita Simonyan said.
“If you want my personal opinion, I think Gamula said he was sorry enough times. He literally slapped himself in his face for making such an unfortunate joke.”