Former soccer star Diego Maradona, center, watches the group D match between Argentina and Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

The Latest: Maradona responds to report of racist incident

June 17, 2018 - 6:01 am

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Diego Maradona has given his version of an exchange with an Asian fan that witnesses perceived as racist.

British television staff working in Spartak Stadium in Moscow during Argentina's 1-1 draw with Iceland on Saturday reported seeing Maradona respond to South Korea fans calling his name.

On Twitter, BBC presenter Jacqui Oatley posted that Maradona "obliged with a smile, kiss and wave. Then pulled his eyes to the side in a clearly racist gesture."

In a Facebook message early Sunday, the Argentina great says he saw "an Asian boy wearing an Argentina T-shirt."

He adds: "I, from afar, tried to tell them how nice it seemed to me that even the Asians cheer for us. And that's all, guys, come on."

FIFA statutes prohibit acts of discrimination by teams, officials and fans at games it organizes.

In a response to The Associated Press, FIFA refers to its anti-discrimination rules without commenting on the incident.

Maradona also apologizes for smoking a cigar in the VIP seats, despite a FIFA ban on smoking at World Cup stadiums.

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12:20 p.m.

Moscow police are investigating a taxi crash that injured eight people, including two Mexican World Cup fans, when the driver plowed into pedestrians on a sidewalk near Red Square.

Video circulating on Russian social media and some news websites showed the taxi veering onto the sidewalk Saturday and striking pedestrians. The source of the video was unclear.

City police released a video Sunday of an interrogation session with a man identified as the Kyrgyz taxi driver, in which he says he briefly fell asleep at the wheel in the crash and accidentally accelerated. It was unclear whether the man spoke under duress.

The man says he hadn't slept in 20 hours, and ran away after the accident because he was afraid that angry bystanders would kill him. He was later detained.

Moscow police would not comment Sunday on whether the crash would affect security measures for the World Cup, which is being held in 11 Russian cities over the next month. Among the security concerns has been the possible use of vehicles as weapons.

The Mexican Embassy told The Associated Press that the two injured female fans met with embassy representatives and were not hospitalized. The Mexican national soccer teams plays against Germany on Sunday in Moscow.

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