MOSCOW, April 18, 2017 - Russia will be able to guarantee “100pc security” in and around the host venues of the World Cup next year.
That pledge has been issued by Mikhail Degtyarev, chairman of the Duma committee for physical culture, sports, tourism and youth affairs, in the wake of a new law being signed into effect by President Vladimir Putin.
Uncertainty about the ‘welcome’ awaiting visiting fans from local ultra groups has been a theme ever since Russia was bidding to win host rights to the finals in competition with Belgium/Holland, England and Portugal/Spain.
Concerns erupted again during the European Championship finals in France last summer when gangs of Russian hooligans roamed through Marseille looking for trouble before attacking English fans inside the Stade Velodrome.
However Degtyarev promised no repeat during the World Cup next year – the first eastern European hosting of football’s elite event.
Degtyarev, as reported by the TASS news agency, said: “Russia, by comparison with other championships, will guarantee one of the highest levels of security. In view of the measures taken and the experience of other major championships we will be able 100pc to ensure order in the stadiums and fan safety.”
He added that all World Cup stadia were being equipped with the sort of modern security systems which were new to the Russian game.
Earlier this week President Putin endorsed a federal law on administrative responsibility for the control of spectators at major sports events. The bill had been approved in April by the Duma and the Council of the Russian Federation.
The law doubles the financial penalties for breaching a stadium ban and includes new punishments with up to two weeks’ jail for “gross misconduct by spectators during official sporting events.”
The term “gross violation” encompasses anything which “threatens the security, life and health of persons in the venue of official sports competitions or surrounding areas,” and/or causes the termination of a sporting event.
Foreigners guilty under the Act could be jailed for 15 days, followed by expulsion from Russia. Known foreign trouble-makers would be barred from entering Russia altogether.
The World Cup is being staged between June 14 and July 15 next year at venues in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, Saransk, Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don.
St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi will stage matches this summer in the Confederations Cup warm-up event.