LIVERPOOL chief executive Ian Ayre has admitted Liverpool have ‘major concerns’ over the attitude of some Zenit St Petersburg supporters ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League clash in Russia.
And the Reds chief has written to UEFA and to Zenit about the controversial supporters manifesto published by a group of Zenit fans calling for ‘all non-European’ and ‘sexual minorities’ to be ‘barred from playing for the club’.
UEFA have replied to thank Liverpool for their observations, but Ayre (right) added that he was still waiting for “some responses in that regard”.
Zenit remain the only Russian club never to have signed an African player.
The manifesto, which Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti quickly distanced himself from, also contained a sinister sentence which declared that ‘black players are being imposed on Zenit almost by force’ and prompted then Zenit defender Christopher Samba to label Zenit fans ‘racist’.
Liverpool could take a number of black players with them to Russia on today’s flight.
And Ayre said in a lengthy interview on the club website: “It’s been a major concern for us, so I wrote to UEFA very recently expressing our concerns to them – and also to Zenit.
“We await some responses in that regard.
“The most we can do is make our feelings clear ahead of the game and hope that we get an adequate response and adequate support on the night.
“That’s about the most we can do at this stage. I’m certainly hopeful that the right people will take the right action to ensure it’s a game where we don’t have that type of incident.
“We do plan to speak to the players about it. As with everything, the players have a lot to take on board around such a big game, so we’re going to do that just ahead of the game.
“The most important thing for our players is that they remain professional throughout this.
“We certainly won’t tolerate that type of attitude or any of those types of incidents from our team.
“So the important thing is that we let them know how we expect them to act if there is an incident.
“I’d much rather we take the incident off the pitch and we deal with it.
“Obviously the referee has a role to play within that.
“But we’ll be briefing our players of what’s acceptable and what’s not.”