Saint Petersburg - Brazil and Zenit St Petersburg forward
Hulk has been dropped from Saturday's star-studded lineup for the 2018 World
Cup qualifying draw just 24 hours before the draw takes place, FIFA confirmed
The 28-year-old was set to feature alongside the likes of
compatriot Ronaldo and Samuel Eto'o, but has been replaced by former Russia
captain Alexey Smertin.
FIFA attributed Hulk's absence from the ceremony due to his
commitments with Zenit, who play away to Urai on Sunday.
"Former Russia captain Alexey Smertin has replaced Hulk
as a draw assistant for Saturday's Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Russia, due to the Brazilian's club commitments with FC Zenit," they said
in a statement.
Also read: Hulk slams 'disgraceful' racism, fears for World Cup
However, Hulk has also been an outspoken critic of the
problems Russian football faces with racism and suggested it could blight the
World Cup in three years' time.
"If this happens during the 2018 World Cup it may
become a serious problem as the whole world will be able to watch it," he
said earlier this week.
Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was the latest
player to claim he had suffered racial abuse in Russia whilst playing for Ufa
in the season opener of the Russian Premier League against Spartak Moscow last
The Ghanaian was sent off after just half an hour for
reacting with an obscene gesture towards the Spartak fans.
Frimpong was banned for two matches, but no further action
has been taken against Spartak.
"Been banned for two games acceptable on my part for
the gesture no problems with that," he said on his official Twitter
"But for the Russian FA to say they didn't hear or see
any evidence of racism is beyond a joke."For
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