The Russian Premier League ethics committee is set to probe alleged racist comments made by the veteran international striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, local media reported on Sunday.

Pavel Pogrebnyak has been fined 250,000 rubles (£2,938) by the Russian Football Union (RFU) after suggesting black players should not represent Russia.

Pogrebnyak gave an interview earlier this month to a local publication, in which he questioned why Brazil-born striker Ari had been given a Russian passport.

Ari – a former Brazil Under-20 international – has spent much of his senior career in Russian football, having joined Spartak Moscow in 2010 from Eredivisie side AZ, while he has also represented Lokomotiv Moscow and Krasnodar.

It was his form late last year for Krasnodar which earned him his first two caps for Russia, but Pogrebnyak – who has played 33 times for his country – made controversial statements about Ari’s call-up.

The Ural forward felt it was “weird” that a black player represented the 2018 World Cup hosts while also expressing a general annoyance at the use of naturalised foreigners.

After examining Pogrebnyak’s comments, the RFU fined him 250,000 RUB and also handed out a conditional disqualification until the end of the season, which will come into effect if he repeats the offence.

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