SOCHI, March 28. /TASS/. Girls dressed as angels greeted football fans of the Belgian national team, who arrived in Russia’s Sochi for the friendly match with the Russian national team on Tuesday night, presenting them with small pillows in the shape of a cloud reading "Gentlefan. Russian warm reception."
The so-called ‘Gentlefan’ action was launched earlier in the month prior to a UEFA match between Russia’s Rostov and England’s Manchester United. The action was carried on by Krasnodar last week during Russia’s friendly match against Cote d’Ivoire.
"This is simply great," one of the Belgium’s football fans said. "We played a football game, had a tour of the city and now we receive gifts. It is done with humor and at a very high level. We like it here and we like how everything was organized."
Earlier in the day, Russian and Belgian football fans played a friendly football match and then they were led to the recently reconstructed Fisht stadium for the inaugural international football match. There they were met by local girls dressed as angels, who gave them souvenir pillows, which said that all football fans were welcome in Russia.
"We wanted to show that Russian football fans are not as bad as they are often depicted," Evelina, one of the girls greeting Belgium football fans said.
Last week’s ‘Gentlefan’ action in Russia’s southern city of Krasnodar picked up the vibe the city of Rostov after the match against Manchester United FC.
A total of 150 students from all over Africa in Krasnodar attended the match and besides having received warm blankets and Gentlefan memorabilia they were all treated to tea by famous Russian footballers as a sign that Russian football fans welcome everyone ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
One of the hosts treating African guests to tea was Alexei Smertin, a famous Russian ex-footballer, playing for the national team and the RFU’s current head on the fight against racism manifestations in football.
"It all started in Rostov-on-Don with their warm reception and this good tradition was caught up by football fans in Krasnodar," said Smertin, who along with other volunteers were handing out to guests orange caps reading ‘Gentlefan’ on them.
National teams around the globe are currently in the qualifying stage battling for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while Russia as the host nation has been already guaranteed a berth in the world’s main quadrennial football event.
Therefore, the Russian national team is playing friendly football matches in the run-up to the much anticipated 2018 FIFA World Cup.