By Mark Baber
November 8 – Russia has banned 384 citizens from attending sports events, according to Deputy Department Head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Countering Extremism Sergei Pershenkov, who was speaking at a roundtable discussion in the State Duma on Tuesday.
TAS News Agency quoted Pershenkov as saying: “This year, we have managed to considerably reduce the number of gang-related hooliganism offenses and extremism at stadiums.”
“This year, 2,527 citizens have been held liable for committing offences during sports events. In the first nine months, 1,270 protocols have been drawn up for breaching the rules of spectators’ behavior during official sports events,”
“The blacklist banning the attendance of sports events is also constantly updated. As of November 1, it includes 384 offenders,” Pershenkov noted.
Pershenkov added, “At the same time, the problem that remains relates to the participation of football fans and their cohorts in illegal activity. Special attention is paid to actually the provocative facts of demonstrating the symbols of banned extremist organizations and Nazi insignia, which discredit Russian fans. This year, the police have cut short 12 such facts.”
According to Russia’s Interior Ministry if those who are blacklisted attempt to access official sports events, they will be it with administrative penalties ranging from 20,000 rubles ($350) to 25,000 rubles ($435) fines or an administrative arrest for a term of up to 15 days.
The latest figures reflect the progress in implementation of tougher administrative sanctions for fans which were signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in April 2017. The new sanctions have doubled fines, provided the possibility of arrest and increased the length of bans to up to seven years.
In April the number of Russian fans on the ban list was about 150, according to Vitaly Mutko.
It is worth noting that despite Russia’s reputation as a relatively authoritarian state, and Western news reports warning of large numbers of Russian football hooligans, the number of Russians banned from attending sports events is far lower than the number of English fans banned from travel to the 2010 World Cup (3,200). The number of England and Wales fans with active travel bans currently stands at about 2,000.
For those hundreds of English hooligans whose travel bans have expired and who may choose to travel to Russia to commit gross violations of the rules of conduct, the Russian authorities have the power to impose fines of up to 20,000 rubles (£256) and order arrest for up to 15 days, with subsequent expulsion from Russia. Expulsion can be replaced by a fine of up to 50,000 rubles (£640) with administrative bans for periods of 1-7 years.
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