Russian champions Spartak Moscow, already sanctioned by UEFA this season for racist behaviour, sparked further condemnation after a club tweet that likened its black players to "chocolates."

Spartak's Luiz Adriano, right smiles besides team mate Fernando after the Champions League soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Liverpool in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday on  September 26, 2017
Spartak's Luiz Adriano, right smiles besides team mate Fernando after the Champions League soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Liverpool in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday on September 26, 2017 ( AP )

Russian champions Spartak Moscow on Saturday published a racially-charged tweet that sparked outrage in the international soccer community as the country prepares to hold the World Cup.

In a short video published on their Twitter account, the club showed three black players, including Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano, doing drills at a training camp in Dubai.

"Look at how the chocolates are melting under the sun," the video's caption said.

Journalist Dan Ashby joins TRT World from Moscow with more on the story.

Russia's pledge to end racism

Russia has pledged to crack down on racism as the country faces increased scrutiny ahead of this year's World Cup.

"For Russia's biggest club to tolerate and then celebrate racist references of this kind is wrong," said Piara Powar, the head of European anti-discrimination organisation Fare network, in comments carried by the BBC.

Spartak could not be immediately reached for comment.

But in a subsequent tweet on Spartak's Twitter page, Brazilian midfielder Fernando said in a video message: "There is no racism at Spartak. We are a united family."

Spartak Moscow have been fined on several occasions for their fans' racist behaviour.

European soccer's governing body UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Spartak youth player Leonid Mironov last month after he allegedly racially abused Liverpool's Rhian Brewster.

Source: Reuters