It’s fair to say Russia aren’t having a good time in the world of sport at the moment.
First, there was that massive doping scandal which rocked athletics, leading to the Russian team being banned from entering the Rio Olympics later this year.
Then there was tennis player Maria Sharapova being banned for two years after testing positive for the prohibited drug, meldonium, during the Australian Open.
There has been the brutal violence marring the European Championships in France, with Russian ‘ultras’ proving to be the catalyst in the majority of cases.
Oh, and their national team is basically out of the Euros now anyway, with or without the threat of disqualification from UEFA.
So you can understand that Vladimir Putin is basically clutching at straws to find any positives at the moment.
But, of course, he has managed to find something that he deems as ‘good news’, after apparently poking fun at ‘several thousand’ England football fans and questioning how 200 Russian supporters were able to beat them all up.
Speaking at the economic forum in St Petersburg, Putin 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.
His comment was reportedly met with laughs and applause from the audience, which basically sums up everything that’s wrong with Russian politics.
Earlier this week, UEFA handed Russia a suspended disqualification over the violent clashes between English and Russian fans around the time of their match in Marseille last Saturday.
French police said a core group of 150 ‘hyper-rapid and hyper-violent’ organised Russian hooligans travelled to the French city intent on causing violence and blamed them for the worst of the clashes.
A number of English and Russian fans have since been jailed, deported and banned from France for their parts in the violence.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time this week that this hooliganism has been massively downplayed in Russia.
MP Igor Lebedev – who is also executive member of the country’s football union – praised Russian hooligans, saying they should ‘keep it up’.
He also added that Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, would have actually enjoyed taking part in the clashes, claiming: “He would also go and fight the English fans since they were the ones who started it.”
Should this country really be allowed to hold the World Cup in 2018 with this kind of attitude? Probably not…