It may have been difficult to distinguish between fight fans and football fans had you been caught in the middle of one of the clashes that occurred when Russia played against England in the opening days of Euro 2016.
There had been reports of violence inside and outside the stadium last Saturday. With all the confusion, there were conflicting reports of how things may have started, and therefore difficult to point out who to blame. The chances are high that fans from both teams could be partly accountable for the trouble, but most of the burden on the issue has been put on the Russians.
As a result, many Russian fans have been jailed and eventually deported out of the host country, and the Russian team itself has been struck with a fine and a suspended disqualification.
Russia is purported to be bringing in trained hooligans as reported by BBC News.
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While host nations expect to reap economic benefits from a throng of tourists that travel from all over the world to watch and support their respective teams compete, it certainly comes with high responsibilities. And since Russia is scheduled to host the World Cup in 2018, many are wary of its ability to quell these recurring violent incidents in which Russian fans seem to be regularly muddled in.
It is in this light that the Conservative MP, Damian Collins had called on FIFA to highlight Russia’s obligations and active participation in stopping the violence. So much that if Russia is not able to deal with their fans they should be stripped of their right to host the major event in 2018.
Meanwhile, Russian officials have downplayed the violence and pointed out that they were not solely to blame for the violence; that the call was unfair. Igor Lebedev, who is a member of the executive committee of the Russian Football Union and the deputy chairman of the Russian parliament, even tweeted “Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”
Fighting among fans is a common occurrence in Russian football. However, some Russian officials have condemned the recent violence in France to be a “disgrace.” It is this divide that Damian Collins has questioned their seriousness in dealing with the issue.
Photo Courtesy: TASS