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© RIA Novosti. Sergey Pivovarov

Russian sports fans spared ID-only entry to games

by R-Sport at 25/06/2013 13:58

An initiative to force fans attending any sports event in Russia to bring ID with them has been killed off, with the head of the Russian parliament's sports committee saying the government will decide when the rule will be applied on a case-by-case basis.

Russia is trying to address an ingrained hooliganism problem by passing a bill that toughens up security at arenas as well as the punishment for law-breakers.

Forcing fans to show their ID to gain entry to stadiums had been a part of the new legislation, which passed in a crucial second reading on Friday, but new amendments rule it out unless the government intervenes.

“We gave government the right to determine sports events when the entry to a venue is allowed only with ID,” Igor Ananskykh said told R-Sport. “These will be applied to major tournaments or the matches when there are suspicions of inadequate fans’ behavior.”

This was a reference to the World Cup, which Russia is holding for the first time in 2018, as well as potentially explosive fixtures with a history of fan violence in the domestic Russian league.

Ananskykh emphasized the mandatory ID scheme was dropped to avoid huge lines at ticket stands and turnstiles. Any wrongdoing in the stands will be caught on video surveillance systems that will become a must-have at the arenas, according to a new law.

On Friday, the so-called Fan Law passed the second reading in the lower house of parliament and will now go to a third reading, usually a formality, set for July 2, before going to the upper house and then to President Vladimir Putin for final approval.

The law also allows convicted hooligans to be banned from sports events for up to seven years.

There were more than 14,000 offenses committed at Russian sporting events over the last three years, according to Deputy Sports Minister Natalia Parshikova. Firework-throwing and racist chants are commonplace at Russian football matches, while violence occasionally erupts.



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