After violence marred the Euro 2016 tie between England and Russia, politicians and people high up in the world of football condemned these acts of aggression.
But one person had a bit of a different view on the whole thing. Russian MP Igor Lebedev – who is also executive member of the country’s football union – praised Russian hooligans, saying they should ‘keep it up’.
Posting on Twitter, Lebedev said: “I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting. Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”
Russian and England fans were involved in violent clashes on the streets of Marseille ahead of their match last Saturday, with hooligans charging at each other in the stands after the match finished.
French authorities went on to admit 150 ‘hyper violent’ Russian hooligans managed to escape arrest after the horrific incident.
But Lebedev – from the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia – decided to point the blame at French authorities in another tweet, suggesting police had an ‘inability to organise such events’.
England fans (and many French people too) climbing fences to avoid Russian supporters pic.twitter.com/ryE9JXSwwP
— Nick Eardley (@nickeardleybbc) June 11, 2016
In a separate interview with Life.ru, Lebedev also claimed that Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, would have actually enjoyed taking part in the clashes, adding: “He would also go and fight the English fans since they were the ones who started it.”
UEFA have since handed Russia a suspended disqualification from Euro 2016 and fined them 150,000 euros (£119,000) over crowd disturbances at the game, while groups of Russian fans have been deported from France over repeated violence during the championships.
The FA released a video yesterday, involving England’s manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney, urging fans to avoid trouble.
England supporters, however, have said Russians were behind most of the violence. A 50-year-old England supporter in a ‘critical but stable’ condition in hospital with severe brain injuries has been named as Andrew Bache.
Home Secretary Theresa May has said some England fans had behaved ‘inexcusably’, but added that she was ‘in no doubt that co-ordinated groups of Russian supporters bear a heavy responsibility’.
There are now fears of further clashes between the two groups later this week.