St. Petersburg: Representatives of the Russian football club Zenit St. Petersburg's largest fan group, Landskrona, defended their controversial recent manifesto, arguing simply that priority should be given to local players regardless of skin colour.
The manifesto shocked fans all over the world as it said that "African" and gay players would not be welcome by Landskrona fans on the grounds that they do not reflect the "spirit" of the club, reports Xinhua.
But Landskrona Tuesday rejected it saying it wants the club to give preference to local players, reports Xinhua.
"We once again reject any accusation of racism. In our manifesto, there is no mention of the idea that citizens of certain countries or believers in certain religions do not have the right to represent Zenit," the Landskrona website announced.
"We simply think that it makes sense for a local football club like Zenit to cast its net first in St. Petersburg and the surrounding regions in its search for talent, and only then to go further afield.
"Unfortunately, the reaction of large sections of the media and the general public suggests that in the present climate, any club or fan base which prefers local talent will be accused of racism, fascism, a desire to imitate Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, and other such rubbish," the fan group added.