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MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Russian football leagues finished last season free of any racially-motivated violations during their matches, a fact that speaks volumes for the country’s improved fan culture, an official with the Russian Football Union (RFU) told TASS on Thursday.
"No acts of racism manifestations were registered over the past season in all football leagues of Russia, including the RFPL (Russian Football Premier League), the FNL (National Football League) and the PFL (Professional Football League)," Artur Grigoryants, the chairman of the RFU’s Control and Disciplinary Committee, said in an interview with TASS.
"It speaks for the fact that fan culture in Russia has improved," he said. "We see an obviously positive tendency, which is not surprising, but is very pleasant."
"Our football is progressing, the fans are progressing and it is particularly important ahead of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup," Grigoryants said.
Security and fans behavior before, during and after football matches is in particular focus of the Russian football authorities as the country is currently in full swing preparations for hosting the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA Confederations Cup, dubbed the ‘Tournament of Champions,’ is also viewed by experts as just a rehearsal, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup. This year’s tournament will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Spartak Stadium in Moscow, St. Petersburg Stadium, Fisht Stadium in Sochi and the Kazan Arena in Kazan.
Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.