Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to force football hooligans in his country sign a pledge not to wield violence against fans from other nations during the FIFA World Cup between June 14 and July 15, Britain's Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday.
During the 2016 European Football Championship in France, the infamous British football hooligans faced a stern challenge from their trained, better-organized peers from Russia.
About 200 Russian young football hooligans clashed with thousands of British rivals, making their name known to the football world overnight.
Many of the Russian fans involved in the violent encounter were immediately sent back to their country by the French government. However, some left a frightening message: see you in two years in Russia. Since then, reports about Russian football hooligans busily training to fight kept repeatedly turning up in newspapers and websites, leaving English football hooligans apprehensive about what awaits them in Russia.
Finally, the situation has got the attention of the Kremlin. In order to avoid violent events, the Russian government has started to force the country's football hooligans to sign a pledge not to use violence against football fans of other countries during the World Cup, the Mirror said.
"They are warning off everyone who could organize something," the paper quoted a source as saying. "They take a statement from you that you promise not to plan or do anything during the World Cup. They have various ways of pressuring people. It is different for every person. Serious work is being done. I know people who have signed these papers."
Meanwhile, the source warned the English football fans that may become possible targets to behave themselves during the tournament or get ready to be held responsible for any inappropriate actions.
Interestingly, when Putin responded to the violent clashes at the economic forum in St Petersburg in 2016, he said: "The fighting between Russian fans with the English, that is a disgrace. I don't know how 200 Russian fans could beat several thousand of the British."
BY Li Xiang