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British media go to great lengths trying to discredit Russia ahead of 2018 Cup — coach

"They are desperate for ways of spoiling Russia’s image," a leading Russian football coach Valery Gazzayev said

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Recent article in Britain’s Daily Mirror about Russian fans was the latest evidence of attempts by British mass media at discrediting Russia, a leading Russian football coach, State Duma member Valery Gazzayev told TASS in an interview.

The Daily Mirror on Tuesday carried an article about what it claimed was a training session in which Russian fans were practicing fighting techniques ahead of the forthcoming World Football Cup. In reality the photographs published by the tabloid showed an imitation of fist fights at Moscow’s Izmailovo Park, staged on the occasion of Shrovetide outdoor festivities. The photos were taken at the end of February.

"Since 2010 the British media have systematically taken efforts to discredit Russia, because Russia presented a better bid than England to win the right to host the World Football Cup finals. In retaliation the BBC made a notorious defamatory documentary about Russian fans. The latest publication was another move in the same direction. They are desperate for ways of spoiling Russia’s image. From time to time they achieve a point of absurdity, like in this particular case. They will push ahead with attempts at fanning negative emotions over Russia and its fans up to the last moment before the competition. They want to have it themselves," Gazzayev said.

He recalled an incident in France’s Marseille at the 2016 European Cup finals, when Russian and British fans clashed on the city streets and on the stands of the local stadium when Russia played England.

"They will be using such examples as the events in Marseille again and again. In the meantime, the clashes in France were provoked by British fans when they trampled on the Russian flag. If I were one of those fans, I might have felt like joining the fight, too. We should not yield to provocations but make steady preparations for the Cup," Gazzayev said.

Russia will host the World Football Cup finals on June 14 through July 15, 2018. The matches will be played in 11 cities.