A RUSSIAN politician has proposed a solution to the country’s football hooliganism problem which involves turning it into a televised sport.
Igor Lebedev drew up rules for what he calls ‘draka’ – The Russian word for fight – after clashes between organised groups of Russian and English fans during the Euro 2016 Championship.
The fights would involve teams of 20 unarmed fighters facing off in an arena.
Organised brawls “could turn fans’ aggression in a peaceful direction,” said Lebedev in a statement.
He also claimed it would serve as an ‘example’ for English fans, who he sees as undisciplined louts and poor fighters.
Lebedev believes fights between different fan groups could draw crowds of thousands.
Some groups in Russia already organise illicit fights along similar lines, usually pre-arranged mass brawls in areas away from the police.
Lebedev’s controversial words come amid growing fears of violence between visiting fans and home supporters in the 2018 World Cup, which takes place in Russia.
The politician has shared his beliefs surrounding football violence before, particularly during the violence in Marseille where he told Russian fans: “Well done lads, keep it up!”
Despite his apparent enthusiasm for hooliganism, Lebedev insisted that Russian policing will mean no danger for foreign fans at the World Cup.