Russian hooligans have ominously forewarned England fans that they are “100% guaranteed” to be their main target for at the 2018 World Cup
The same group has also claimed that the tournament will descend into “a festival of violence” for some locals.
There had been notable clashes between Russian and English supporters, as both countries met in the group stages in Marseille, France, where Euro 2016 was held last summer.
“Denis” – who led the “Orel Butchers” group that had been at the centre of the violence at Marseille – said in another interview that England fans will inevitably be subjected to violence again if they travel to Russia next June.
“They can come over and we’ll see,” he said. “Somebody will obviously try to do something, that is like 100% – 100% guaranteed.”
Another anonymous hooligan interviewed in the city of Rostov said England supporters were targeted due to their traditional association with hooliganism: “Our opponents are naturally the English because they are the forefathers of hooliganism and naturally they are always awaited.”
“For some it will be a festival of football, for others it will be a festival of violence,” he said of the upcoming World Cup.
Despite unsubstantiated claims of Kremlin involvement, many hooligans believe they will be subjected to strong measures before the tournament. “What’s most likely [to] happen [is] they will just take down all leaders, all people who are capable of organising anything and just lock them down,” Denis said.