Q: When does a fan-made sign become racist?

A: It never does in Russia.

FIFA officials are in the process of visiting the countries currently bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The heavy-hitters are the United States, England, Russia, a Belgium-Holland joint bid, and a Portugal-Spain joint bid.

Russia and England appear to be the favorites for the 2018 edition when the announcement is made in December of this year. FIFA officials recently spent some time in the Motherland examining the facilities, infrastructure, etc. FIFA expressed concerns over racism in Russia’s highest football league, the Russian Premier League.

And like a good commie, the Russian representative denied any problems. And when FIFA referenced a specific sign displayed by the fans of Lokomotiv Moscow, the denials became interesting.

Stay classy, Russia

The sign (above) is thanking English club West Brom for for acquiring Lokomotiv’s Peter Odemwingie. The problem, of course, is that Odemwingie is from Nigeria and his skin color is not the same as the shirtless commies in that pic. Thus, the banana came to signify racial tensions.

A Russian official explained to FIFA reps that the sign was not racist: “Apparently fans were not happy with the fact that he plays better for Nigeria and worse for the club. That’s why they have shown their satisfaction after he left. And there is nothing racial in it.”

The official went on to say: “In Russia ‘to get a banana’ means ‘to fail a test somewhere’.”

Oh, just a simple misunderstanding, right? The foreign player didn’t really know the origin of the banana in Russia. Well there’s more.

According to this BBC article, the banana did mean that at one time in the Motherland, but that time is no more.

So, it really is racist? I’m confused. The nice little tour guide of greater Russia said it wasn’t racist?

All of this can only mean one thing: England congratulations on securing the 2018 World Cup.