Russian footballer banned for obscene gesture

Moscow, May 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Roman Shirokov has been given a two-game suspension for making an obscene gesture after scoring the third goal in his side’s 3-1 win over FC Volga over the weekend.

The Russian Football Association’s disciplinary committee announced the punishment after a meeting Wednesday. It means Shirokov, 31, will miss Zenit’s last game of the season at Amkar Perm Sunday.

The Russian international apologized for last Sunday’s incident, which earned him a straight red card in injury time. Zenit security held the player in the media zone for his own protection until the Zenit supporters left the arena.

Shirokov had been jeered by large sections of the crowd during the Volga game, apparently for congratulating arch-rivals CSKA Moscow on winning the Russian Premier League title on Twitter.

Shirokov has often had a fraught relationship with Zenit fans, partly because he started his career with CSKA. Last year, a video went viral on YouTube showing Shirokov angrily remonstrating with Zenit fans who goaded him about his CSKA past.

He has played for Zenit since 2008, winning the Russian title twice, and is a regular for the Russian national team with 32 caps.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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IANS