Football

Zenit: Our only restriction is quality

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Zenit St Petersburg have reiterated their opposition to views advanced by a group of their supporters who called for "sexual minorities" and non-Europeans to be excluded from the playing staff.

Director of sport Dietmar Beiersdorfer insisted the Russian club was concerned only with the quality of players and not their ethnic origin, nationality or sexual orientation. Zenit was the only Premier League team without a black player in their squad until earlier this year, when they brought in Hulk and Axel Witsel from Porto and Benfica respectively.

Zenit remain the only club in the top flight to have never signed an African player, but Beiersdorfer told fc-zenit.ru: "We make our player selections without any limitation regarding origin, religion or skin colour. We have absolutely no policy in Zenit of limiting our player selection in any superficial way. The one and only restriction our club sets is the matter of quality."

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