MOSCOW (AP) -- A Russian Premier League referee has been cleared of racially abusing Zenit St. Petersburg striker Hulk.
The Brazil international accused Alexei Matyunin of racially insulting him in English during Zenit's 1-0 defeat to Mordovia Saransk in November.
Russian Football Union ethics committee head Vladimir Lukin ruled "a serious personal conflict took place," but said there was no "direct proof" of racist behavior by Matyunin.
Matyunin denied the accusation, and there were no other witnesses.
Matyunin was previously banned for a year in 2011 over allegations he used a racial slur when speaking to a player from Russia's North Caucasus region during a game. That ruling was later overturned on appeal.