ST PETERSBURG: Zenit St Petersburg's Brazilian striker Hulk has pulled out of Saturday's World Cup qualifying draw, only days after complaining of "gross and ugly" racism in Russian football.
FIFA said that Hulk will be replaced by former Russia captain Alexey Smertin as one of the draw assistants for Saturday's event in St Petersburg. Hulk has withdrawn due to club commitments, FIFA said in a statement.
Other former players who will take part in Saturday's draw include Ronaldo, Diego Forlan, Fabio Cannavaro, Samuel Eto'o and Oliver Bierhoff.
Russia, hosts for the 2018 World Cup, have repeatedly been criticised for failure to tackle racism in domestic soccer.
"It (racism) happens at almost every match in Russia but the world does not hear about it because they try to keep it quiet," Hulk told reporters on Monday at a Zenit training session.