Hulk pulls out

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. The Brazilian international will be replaced by former Russia captain Alexey Smertin as one of the draw assistants for Saturday’s event in St Petersburg, FIFA said in a statement, adding that Hulk had withdrawn due to club commitments. Zenit are away to FC Ural on Sunday in a Russian Premier League match, although there have been no alterations to the fixture list since FIFA announced on Wednesday that Hulk would take part in the draw. On Monday, Hulk had complained bitterly about racism in Russian football. “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 said. “I see it happening all the time. I used to get really angry about it but now I just send a kiss to the fans and try not to get angry.”