Battle-Hardened Football Fans Cause Crisis For Russian Sport

Russian Sport
AFP — Rampaging football fans have opened up a new sporting crisis for Russia as it battles doping scandals and doubts about the World Cup that it will host in two years. Sanctions that UEFA is considering against Russia over pitched fights, racist chants and fireworks hurled around the European Championship game against England have been a new blow to Russia’s reputation. Images of fans preparing for battle with gumshields and batons, charging through Marseille’s old town with chairs over their heads ready to throw have gone around the world. Women and children were among the England supporters who had to flee over barriers when Russian fans launched a charge inside the Stade Velodrome stadium at the end of the 1-1 draw. UEFA have threatened England and Russia with disqualification from Euro 2016 if there is a repeat of the unrest. Only Russia faces formal charges however. Europe’s governing body is to announce a first punishment on Tuesday. Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has predicted his country will merely be fined. But there is a lot of damage limitation to be done. Mutko is already struggling with international enquiries into doping in Russian athletics and other sports. The International Association