XtraTime Web Desk: England football fans get a serious warning before the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Specially the hooligans will get banned to travel in Russia.
England fans traveling to the World Cup in Russia next month have been warned by British police to beware of “sensitive sites” especially in Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad. But England supporter Kevin Miles said he sensed they would get a welcome similar to the one fans received in Japan in 2002.
England’s first World Cup match is against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18 and Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Football Policing Lead, said supporters needed to be sensitive about the city’s history and especially the significance of the Battle of Stalingrad, in which more than a million Russians died.
Mr. Roberts, speaking at a press briefing at the Foreign Office in London on Tuesday, May 15, said draping an England fan over a war memorial in Volgograd could give the same offense as if a Russian flag was put on the Cenotaph in London.
“Any student of history will know that the Russian casualties at the Battle of Stalingrad were horrific and the memorials there are particularly sensitive and I’m asking fans to show cultural awareness,” Mr. Roberts said.
“Flags are an interesting issue. People should be really careful with flags. It can come across as saying ‘we’re here’ and it can cause antagonism,” said Mr. Roberts, who said England flags were the “trophy of choice” for Russian hooligans involved in the disturbances in Marseille during the 2016 European championships.
Mr. Roberts said he hoped Russians would take note that those England fans who would be traveling to the World Cup were not hooligans, or as he called them “risk supporters”.
England Hooligans Banned From Travel
Hundreds of football hooligans who are subjected to banning orders will be prevented from traveling to Russia.
After the European Championships in France, a further 91 England fans received banning orders and a further 30 are expected to be issued to people involved in fighting at England’s friendly against Holland in Amsterdam earlier this year.
Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, told the briefing England fans in Russia would be “experienced travelers” who were unlikely to cause deliberate offense.
England’s second game is against Panama in Nizhny Novgorod which, as Gorky, was a “closed city” until the early 1990s.