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Putin signs bill into law tightening penalties for fan misconduct at sports events

The new law also stipulates various types of punishments for non-Russian citizens for violating the norms of behavior during sports events

MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law on Monday stipulating an expansion in the administrative responsibility of misconduct by spectators at official sports events.

The relevant bill was earlier passed in all of the three readings by the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, and passed by the parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, on April 12, before it was submitted to the president for his final stamp of approval.

The new law, which comes as a set of amendments to the existing norms of the Code on Administrative Regulations, doubles fines for violating previously imposed admission bans on spectators from the sum of 20,000-25,000 rubles ($357-446) up to 40,000-50,000 rubles ($713-890). A detention term of anywhere between 10 and 15 days, remains in force as an alternative to the newly imposed financial penalties.

Besides the newly-imposed penalties for breaching active attendance bans, the law also stipulates an administrative responsibility "for severe violations of fans’ behavior during official sports tournaments" and specifies either a fine of 10,000-20,000 rubles ($180-357) or detention of up to 15 days with a subsequent ban on visiting sports events between one and seven years.

The text of the law stipulates that "severe violations of fans’ behavior during official sports tournaments" implies all actions "which pose a threat to security, life and harm to the health of those present at sports events and surrounding vicinities," as well as all actions, which led to a suspension of a particular sports event.

Foreign sports fans

The new law, signed by President Putin on Monday, also stipulates various types of punishments for non-Russian citizens for violating the norms of behavior during sports events. Foreign guests will be now a subject to a 15-day jail detention and a subsequent deportation from Russia for the acts of misconduct at stadiums.

A possible deportation penalty from the territory of the Russian Federation may be replaced, according to the law, with a fine of 40,000-50,000 rubles ($714-890) or a prohibition to visit sports events for the period of between one and seven years.

Moreover, the law also stipulates an entry ban to Russia, in case a foreign sports fan was previously brought up on charges of public order violations during any format of public, sports, entertainment or any other mass events either on the territory of Russia or any other country.

The law also stipulates an entry ban to Russia for any foreigner if there was proof about his or her intentions to be involved in any illegal activity at any scheduled sports event.

The issue of fan misconduct during sports matches is in particular focus by the Russian authorities because the country is now in undergoing full-swing preparations for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Numerous altercations were reported between football fans at the major European football tournament held in France between June 10 and July 10, 2016. The most notorious brawls broke out between Russian and English fans ahead of the June 11th match. Clashes erupted 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 rabble-rousers. According to reports, more than 30 people had been injured in violent altercations, with four people sent to hospitals after sustaining severe injuries.

One of the most important steps taken by the Russian authorities to provide security during the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Cups was the introduction of the so-called Fan-ID, according to FIFA executives.

The fan-ID will play an important role in providing security during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup as they would be granting admittance to the stadiums and would also serve as visas for foreign visitors.

A fan-ID holder will be allowed to enter the country without having a Russian visa and stay for the duration of the global football tournament as well as for a period of ten days before and after the championship.

In order to pass through the country’s borders, a holder of the fan-ID would also have to produce an identification document, a ticket for a match or a document verifying the purchase of a ticket.