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English Fans Wary of Violence

June 11, 2016

English fans are reportedly having concerns about the conduct of their hosts Russia, if they were to qualify for the World Cup Russia. The concerns are based on the coordinated attacks in France at the ongoing Euro 2016 tournament. The violence in the first two games was so much that some fans were alleged to have said they would never go to Russia if their country qualified to watch the tournament, out of safety concerns.

The build-up to the last group game between England and Slovakia was relatively peaceful. The first two games were brutal.

The first in Marseille where the Russian fans were coordinated, beating the English fans ahead of the game, aside attacking them immediately after the game in the Stadium. The English fans also clashed with the French police in Lille. So it was very different as the build-up to the game against the Slovaks was peaceful.

The English fans claimed the attacks from the Russians were military-like, that they were trained Ultras. Daily Mail even reported that Russia was training female ultras for combat ahead of the World Cup in 2018. The attacks created fear in the English fans camp so much that they were almost able to pick out Russians from a crowd. Interviewed by a writer who did a piece on the violence, the English fans said there was not a chance that they would support their country all the way in 2018.

Russia are set to host the tournament in the summer of 2018 but many countries would likely see reduced participation from their supporters at the tournament, with the unfriendly Russian laws, the weather, the distance and now the threat of violence. All these would likely lead to reduced fans’ presence, except the Russian government can convince them on time.