Goncharenko urges against World Cup boycotts
CSKA Moscow coach Viktor Goncharenko has issued an impassioned plea for the English football community not to shun the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Recent relations between the countries have been dominated by a tense political environment, leading all UK politicians and royal family members to boycott the tournament.
Concerns have also been raised over the prospect of fan violence, while Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele were allegedly targeted by racial abuse during France's international friendly in St Petersburg last month.
Despite the controversies, Belarus-born Goncharenko insisted the event would be a positive experience for attendees.
"We still welcome you in Russia for the World Cup," the 40-year-old told reporters following his side's 4-1 loss to Arsenal in the Europa League.
"We can ensure you there will be great stadiums. Ask us questions and please come to Russia."
Goncharenko had earlier seen CSKA's hopes of advancing to the Europa League semi-finals effectively evaporate at Emirates Stadium.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 5, 2018
Aleksandr Golovin had given the visitors some hope of taking a result back to Moscow when his free-kick cancelled out Aaron Ramsey's opener, but Alexandre Lacazette struck either side of Ramsey's second to put the Gunners in a commanding position.
"They outperformed us greatly," Goncharenko admitted. "I'm not disappointed. It's a very bad result, but we knew who we were playing against.
"We played open football - playing open football against Arsenal results in a great disaster.
"Their attacking group has a lot of quality and they outperformed us."