“Well done lads, keep it up!”
Not the words of a group WhatsApp chat between a Sunday league side, but the words of Igor Lebedev, a Russian MP, on the violence by Russian hooligans in Marseille at the Euro 2016.
Rather than denouncing the chaos caused by the Russian fanbase – and it’s important remembering it wasn’t just the Russians – Lebedev promotes it; promotes it as a form of passion, and a way to proudly represent your country. For instance, on the shameful English fans, the MP described them as…
“Louts and poor fighters.”
Of course, the chairman of the LDPR parliamentary group has a point when describing such individuals; but, the way he denounces the English support should be carried through to his own people, if not more so, judging by the scenes from France last summer.
The MP wants to control such scenes by organising this fighting as a spectator sport; this is his supposed solution. The concerning part is that Lebedev has this voice to project a policy; a lawmaker within his own right, the policy would only exacerbate fears ahead of 2018, rather than dampen the idea of violence breaking out at the World Cup.
The scenes which scared an entertaining summer would only repeat themselves with encouragement of violence. The aggression would spill over and take any value away from the football. The appointment of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup has had enough issues with bribery amongst FIFA, the thought of amplified violence in comparison to Euro 2016 adds another factor which shows how the beautiful game, is becoming less and less beautiful.
It’s concerning that such an opinion has a platform to implement these ideas, and it’s made even more alarming when the President of Russia himself seems just as open to it, evident by the fact he wasn’t concerned during last the events last summer, but instead provoked it.
“I don’t know how 200 Russian fans could beat several thousand of the British,”
The authorities have to step in, in the build up to 2018, they have to clamp down on any policies which encourage violence. Otherwise, we could well see the dark days of hooliganism of the 1970s and 1980s.
On a lighter note, what we did find shocking was that these eight footballers had a World Cup medal…