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Russians Pan BBC Documentary on Soccer Hooliganism

Photo: © Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP

A recent BBC documentary about Russian soccer hooligans allegedly preparing to stage a brutal reception for England football fans at the 2018 FIFA World Cup was a “low-rate film,” according to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“Unfortunately, we are recently witnessing an eroding quality and impartiality of our colleagues from BBC and express our regrets in this regard,” Peskov said. “Considering high-profile stories of England’s football hooliganism across the whole European continent, it should be probably not up for England raising the issue of football hooligans.”

The BBC television channel released a documentary in which Russian hooligans were warning British football fans about a ‘festival of violence’ in response to the notorious clashes in the French Riviera city of Marseille last year during the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup games. Announcing the upcoming, “Russia’s Hooligan Army,” British newspaper The Guardian wrote that: “Clashes between Russia and England supporters, centered around the countries’ group-stage meeting in Marseille, blighted Euro 2016 last summer, leading to fears among senior British government officials that the violence unleashed by Russian hooligans was sanctioned by the Kremlin.”

Commenting on the BBC documentary, the Russian Embassy in London said in its statement that it also viewed the film as Britain’s another government-sponsored attempt to discredit Russia.

“It is worth noting that a similar campaign was underway before the (2016 Winter) Olympic Games in Sochi,” the Russian diplomatic mission in London said in its statement. Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov voiced a similar opinion saying it was another provocation aimed at disrupting Russia’s preparations for the world’s much-anticipated football tournament in Russia next year. “This is nothing but just another provocation and another attempt at a smear campaign against Russia, this is why we are reacting calmly to these developments and continue our preparations for the World Cup,” Kolobkov told TASS.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba. 

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