UEFA has figured out how to punish Russia for fans fights in Marseille

The UEFA Disciplinary Committee fined the Russian Football Union 150,000 euros for mass brawls involving Russian fans in Marseille, the use of pyrotechnics in the stadium and racist behavior. Also, the Russian national team has been conditionally disqualified, the suspension of disqualification will be valid until the end of the championship. This means that the national team will be removed from the competition if “similar incidents (massive violations of public order) occur on the territory of the stadiums of any of the remaining matches of the Russian national team,” explained the UEFA disciplinary committee.

The RFU will not appeal the decision of the UEFA Disciplinary Committee on a fine and conditional disqualification of the national team until the end of the 2016 European Championship, the Minister of Sports, RFU President Vitaly Mutko told TASS. “We will carry out the decision of UEFA, what else could be the position of the RFU?” – he said.

The UEFA stressed that this decision concerns only incidents recorded in the stands of the stadium in Marseille, where Russian fans broke into sectors with fans of the English national team and staged a brawl, Interfax reports.

After the Russia – England match, there was a massive brawl at the Velodrome stadium, as well as sporadic attacks on English fans outside the stadium. Two Russians were detained for running out onto the field. Six English fans were also detained. 354 people were injured. The police did not manage to detain any of the participants in the fights on the Russian side, but on June 14, after checking the documents of a group of Russian fans, it was decided to deport some of them.

The prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes department has announced that it will expel from France some Russian fans who are suspected of posing a threat to public order. Officials added that a document check had started in the morning at a hotel near Marseille, where the group of fans were staying and from where they were going to travel to Lille for the national team’s next match. According to its results, other suspects may also be expelled if it turns out that they appear on the lists of dangerous football hooligans, warned the representative of the department of the prefect of the department François-Xavier Lo.

The head of the All-Russian Association of Supporters (VOB), Alexander Shprygin, told reporters that a bus with fans was surrounded by police special forces in the morning and they were told that all 50 people on the bus would be deported. “None of us was detained during the riots in Marseilles, and in the end, for some reason, we stuck to the official delegation of the VOB,” Shprygin said by telephone to R-sport.

Meanwhile, The Guardian called Shprygin a far-right nationalist activist. The publication notes that he is part of the official delegation of Russia and was in Marseilles over the weekend, where fans fought. Human rights groups fighting racism have expressed concern about his official accreditation with the Russian national team, the newspaper writes. The Fare Network, an organization officially hired by UEFA to monitor championship matches, believes Shprygin is one of the leaders among Russian far-right fan groups. According to The Guardian, he was among those who acquainted Russian fans with neo-Nazi views and orders, there is a photo on the network in which he “zigzags”, and recently said that “I would like to see only Slavic faces in the national team of the country,” adds picture of the newspaper. In another publication, The Guardian collected the statements of Russian dignitaries who, if not approved, then did not blame the participants in the mass brawl. The newspaper noted that only Mutko called fans to order. Fare Network CEO Piara Povar told the publication that Shprygin’s presence in the official delegation heightens concerns “about the apparent closeness of high-ranking politicians with the leaders of ultra-right and extreme nationalist groups” in Russian football ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

The press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dissociated himself from the positions of the representative of the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) Vladimir Markin and the vice-speaker of the State Duma from the Liberal Democratic Party Igor Lebedev about Russian fans in Europe and stressed that these statements cannot reflect the official point of view of Russia. Markin on his Twitter called the abstract Russian fan “a normal man, what he should be”, pointing out that he is surprising in Europe, because “they are used to seeing” men “at gay pride parades.” “I don’t see anything wrong with a fight between fans. On the contrary, our guys are great. Keep it up! And I do not understand all those politicians and officials who are now stigmatizing our fans. We need to protect them, but they will come home and we will figure it out, ”Lebedev wrote on Monday. True, then he urged fans of Euro 2016 in France not to succumb to provocations. “As for ensuring safety, this responsibility lies with the host side, but our sports functionaries, our respective public organizations must use their influence in order to urge fans to behave in a law-abiding manner,” Peskov emphasized (quoted by RIA Novosti).

Some English fans have already been prosecuted for their antics in France, AFP notes, but the national team or the football association have not been punished. The Football Association of England is seriously concerned about security measures in the French city of Lille, where Russian and English football fans are to arrive, said the head of the association Greg Dyke in a letter to the UEFA leadership. He is quoted by the BBC. He noted that the videos confirm that the British were not the initiators of the clashes in Marseille, and also stated that there were insufficient checks at the Velodrome stadium, where fans were able to carry firecrackers and flares and where fans of different teams were not rigidly separated.

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