The threat of hooliganism for World Cup 2018 is “overblown” and “fake” despite concerns after Russian fans went on the rampage at Euro 2016, according to top organizer of Russia’s World Cup.
The assurances that fans would be safe at next year’s tournament, were given by the Alexander Djordjadze, deputy CEO of the Russia 2018 organizing committee. He also blamed negative media coverage for stirring up controversy.
One Russian legislator has called for hooliganism to be made legal and turned into a bystander game since well-prepared Russian hooligans struck at Euro 2016 in France.
Next year, Russia is scheduled to host the World Cup for the first time. A documentary is also filmed on a leading Russian hooligan warning fans to expect a “festival of violence” next year, by a British.
Speaking at the World Football Forum in Changsha, China, Djordjadze said,hooliganism was “not a problem” for the World Cup.
Djordjadze told the reporters, “We don’t see any problems with the hooligans. Hooliganism is more endemic for the club football.”
“The World Cup and Confederations Cup have slightly different population groups coming so we don’t see hooliganism as a security threat. The security threat comes from terrorism nowadays — but hooliganism is not a problem,” he added further.
The two last World Cup hosts in 2010 and 2014, South Africa and Brazil also faced questions over security but ultimately hosted successful World Cups.
When asked about the danger of fan violence, he said, “Of course it’s overblown.”It’s overblown by press in certain countries.
“Honestly it’s such a miniscule issue compared to preparations for the World Cup. But the World Cup will be very secure, so we encourage fans to come,” he added further.
The tournament will be played between June 14 and July 15 next year, across 11 Russian cities. Russia is also hosting the Confederations Cup, the traditional warm-up tournament, next month.