.Insists soccer hooligans won’t have a field day
AS the qualifiers for the Russia 2018 World Cup enters the final lap this October in Africa and other parts of the world, chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the event, Vitaly Mutko, has assured that the hosts would stage a violence free tournament.
Mutko’s assurance is coming against the backdrop of the behaviour of Russian fans in the on going Euro 2016 championship in France Marseille.
Russian fans had invaded France apparently prepared for “war” as they dealt with English fans after their group game in .
Most of the Russian fans were subsequently deported even before Russia eventually crashed out of the tournament. For the French police, Russia’s failure to advance beyond the group stage was a big relief.
Would the Russian hooligans be waiting for the world back home in two years time? This is one question soccer fans can not but ask ahead of the 2018 mundial.
Russia 2018 LOC boss, Mutko, has however allayed such fears assuring that Russia will host a save World Cup.
AIPS Football Commission Chairman, Keir Radnedge in a report posted early this week quoted Mukto as saying that Russia has learnt some lessons from what happened in France, with a pledge that the 2018 World Cup finals will be staged in “a secure, comfortable and football-loving atmosphere.”
Mutko, according to the AIPS report made his comments at the formal confirmation of ticketing pricing and timelines, ahead of the world’s biggest single sports fiesta.
It would be noted that Mukto had been criticised in France for waving encouragingly to Russian fans in the crowd at the match against England which was preceded by violence on the streets and followed by a thugs’ attack on English fans within the Stade Velodrome.
The Russian federation was threatened with expulsion by UEFA if such incidents were repeated. Troublemakers were rounded up and deported.
AIPS further quoted Mutko as saying: “Take any big event, like Euro 2016, certainly we will learn the lesson. We had our people there under the [organisers] ‘observer’ programme, we also had security officers in France. I have been in Marseille and have seen everything with my own eyes. We are now in negotiations with colleagues from France and will meet to discuss their experience. They are trying to look at the best practices and I believe we can create a secure, comfortable and football loving atmosphere.”
Mutko stressed that Russian legislation and systems had been tightened to embrace the latest security technologies and improve the exchange of hooligan ban lists with other countries.
“The government guarantees security [and the] security concept has been drafted and shared with FIFA. We will ensure that every team, every fan can feel in safety. You know we already held the Olympic Games in 2014 and no issues were identified.”
The AIPS report further quoted FIFA’s new secretary-general, Fatma Samoura as saying that Russia is on course from what she saw in the area of preparations during a recent visit to the country.
Russia would first play host to the FIFA Confederations Cup next year before hosting the big one in 2018.
Accepting her own responsibilities, Samoura said: “It is paramount for me as secretary-general of FIFA to ensure that the World Cup and Confederations Cup will impress and inspire fans from the smallest villages in Africa and Asia to some of the world’s most bustling and cosmopolitan cities like Moscow.”
The Confederations Cup draw will be staged in November in Kazan.
Samoura also promised that lessons would be learned from not only Euro 2016 but from the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro “to ensure everyone coming to the Confederations Cup and World Cup can enjoy a great football festival in a safe environment.”