Putin Calls for Russian Federation to Ensure Friendly WC

April 7, 2011

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on the nation’s Football Union (RFU) to act on the violence and ethnic tension that exists amongst Russia’s soccer supporters ahead of its staging of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Hooliganism and racism remain real issues within its domestic game and in the days after securing the tournament in December, up to 7,000 fans and nationalists rioted in central Moscow after a Spartak Moscow supporter was shot dead in clashes with natives of Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus.

Putin has insisted that such incidents cannot occur in a nation staging a World Cup, stating: “I’m convinced that the Russian Football Union needs to actively interact with the public and football fan associations and organisations. We have given a promise to FIFA and the entire international community to hold the World Cup properly, based on the principles of tolerance and benevolence, and we must deliver on this promise.”

Speaking on Wednesday during a government meeting addressing preparations for the World Cup, Putin added: “I met with supporters of Russia’s leading football clubs last December. We need to involve these public organisations in the preparations for the World Cup to use their energy and positive creative potential.”

Meanwhile, Putin has ordered the Finance Ministry to report on the costs of staging the World Cup by June 1 after admitting that stadia preparation is likely to provide the major challenge.

He continued: “One of the biggest issues is the construction of stadia. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the fundamental task in preparing for the World Cup in Russia. For some stadia, including those in Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan, their status is pretty much clear in terms of what needs to be done. In other regions the organising committee, along with local authorities, will have to choose sites for building future stadia that meet all FIFA regulations.”