Soccer

Hulk withdraws from World Cup qualifying draw amid racism gripe

Hulk of FC Zenit during the round of 32 UEFA Europa League match between PSV Eindhoven and Zenit Saint Petersburg on February 19, 2015 at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Hulk of FC Zenit during the round of 32 UEFA Europa League match between PSV Eindhoven and Zenit Saint Petersburg on February 19, 2015 at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Zenit St Petersburg and Brazil striker Hulk has pulled out of Saturday's World Cup qualifying draw.

FIFA said that Hulk has withdrawn from his role as one of the draw assistants due to club commitments and will be replaced by former Russia captain Alexey Smertin at the event in St Petersburg.

Other former internationals who will take part in the qualifying draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia include Ronaldo, Diego Forlan, Fabio Cannavaro, Samuel Eto'o and Oliver Bierhoff.

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Hulk complained earlier this week of "gross and ugly" 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 told reporters on Monday at a Zenit training session.