Zenit St. Petersburg striker Hulk has accused referee Alexey Matyunin of racism, claiming the official told him he did not like black players.
The pair spoke after Zenit’s encounter with Mordovia Saransk on Saturday.
“I walked quietly up to the referee to talk to, and touched his shoulder, and he turned around and arrogantly said that I didn’t do it,” said the Brazilian striker. “I asked quietly, but he began to get nervous. I said to him: “are You racist?” He replied: “I don’t like you, and I don’t like blacks.”
In an interview with Sport-Express the referee denied all allegations and said he was prepared to go to court in order to clear his name.
“I do not believe that the Hulk could make a statement like that,” said Matyunin. “Because we both know that it is untrue. And both teams, and each player will verify this. The charges of racism are very serious and you need to evidence to make such a claim.
“But I want to say that slander is no less a crime. And to prove it will not be difficult.”
The match was played in Saransk on Saturday and ended in a 1-0 home win for the hosts.
Russia’s Disciplinary Committee has confirmed it will not be investigating Hulk’s allegation.