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MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. The Russian Interior Ministry has blacklisted some 200 local football fans from attending sports events, including matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia this month, a senior official with the ministry said on Tuesday.
“We do have an open list of those, who had been banned from attending official football events by the court’s decision,” First Deputy Head of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Security Provision at Large International and Mass Sports Events Anton Gusev said.
“This list is open to the public and as of today it contains 191 people,” the official added speaking at a news conference in TASS.
Gusev also said that all football fans, who previously violated laws, were under a constant control of the Russian Interior Ministry.
“They would be never allowed to attend competitions,” he said. “Moreover, those who had been committing harsh violations during sports events are now under our constant control. This goes as well to foreign football hooligans.”
According to Gusev, the Russian law enforcement bodies are in close contact with foreign colleagues regarding possible threats posed by international football fans.
“They (foreign police forces) will be escorting their football teams and national fans,” Gusev said. “We will have no problems whatsoever obtaining on-line information (from foreign colleagues) regarding hooligans and other persons planning unlawful actions during the tournament.”
Security and fans behavior before, during and after football matches is in particular focus of the Russian football authorities as the country is currently undergoing full swing preparations for hosting the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Gusev’s statement also regarded fans’ behavior during the 2016 UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Cup in France last summer. The European tournament was particularly marred by violent brawls between Russian and English football fans.
“We had been closely cooperating with French law enforcement bodies and our delegation was deployed there (in France) during the championship,” Gusev said. “We have studied these notorious events in detail, but the investigation is not in our jurisdiction.”
“I can say, however, that some of our citizens, who were brought to administrative liability by French policemen, are also on our blacklist sanctioned by court’s decision,” he added.
Numerous clashes were reported between football fans at the major European football tournament held in France between June 10 and July 10, 2016.
The most notorious altercations erupted between Russian and English fans ahead of the June 11th match. Brawls began on June 9 in Marseille, peaking on the day of the match - June 12.
Law enforcement authorities resorted to tear gas, smoke pellets and water cannons to disperse the brawlers. According to reports, more than 30 people had been injured in violent altercations, with four people sent to hospitals after sustaining severe injuries.
On June 14, French policemen stopped a bus with over 43 Russian football fans en-route from Marseille to Lille, where their national team played its second group stage match against Slovakia.
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.