I’m in WSC this month with a piece on racism and crowd trouble in Russian football. Russia of course beat England to hosting the 2018 World Cup, but it is a country which still has a serious problem with racism and violence at matches. Twice this season Roberto Carlos (in the twilight of his career in Russia) has had bananas thrown/pointed at him by opposition fans, and there has been regular fighting between fans and police.
No-one quite knows what to do. The authorities have thus far hidden behind legislation and red tape without taking any real action, like Gogolesque civil servants. However, with half an eye on the World Cup, they are now talking about a new law. This ‘fans’ law’ will make it easier to prosecute an individual for disorder/racism at a game – at the moment clubs always carry the can for individuals’ actions.
Fans are not happy, and not just those that are troublemakers. Many fear giving the police more authority will only make things worse – at times they react violently and disproportionately to relatively minor problems in the stands. There are also concerns that any new law will become another of Russia’s ‘cardboard’ laws, i.e. it won’t be enforced.
To find out more, read this month’s When Saturday Comes (no 295). You can also see more on the magazine’s website.