- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian sports minister says the country will work to reduce racism among soccer fans ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Vitaly Mutko’s comments came two days after a banana was thrown at Chris Samba, a Congolese defender who plays for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, after a match at Lokomotiv Moscow on Sunday. It was the third such incident against Anzhi players in the past year.

Mutko says “of course it’s bad and Russia will fight against such manifestations of racism.”

Alexei Sorkin, chief executive of the organizing committee, said he believes that Russian’s pride in holding the competition would undermine any prejudice.

Mutko says selection of the cities where the matches will be held will be announced in September.

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