Russia expects to welcome more than one million foreigners to the 2018 World Cup and a 'Fans Law' guaranteeing their safety has taken a step closer to the statute books, a top official said on Thursday (April 11).
Under the proposed law there will be visa-free entry to the country for fans arriving with match tickets and free travel between host cities. New regulations are also being introduced to deal with troublemakers at sporting events in the lead up to the finals.
Two days ago the lower house of the Russian parliament passed a first reading of the so-called 'Fans Law' which will now go to the upper house before being signed off by president Vladimir Putin later this year.
"(Hooliganism) is a big concern for the entire football family in Russia, for the general public, for government," Alexander Djordjadze, the Director of Bid Planning and Operations, told delegates at the Soccerex Business Forum on Thursday (April 11).
"I am pleased to say now here in Manchester that literally two days ago a law has been passed, we call it fans law, and was introduced to the parliament by Prime Minister Medvedev and by the Government to deal with examples of extreme behaviour, ultra behaviour in the stands. The law envisages serious fines and bans, banning from matches hooligans, it envisages arrests and suspension of businesses for organisers of the matches."
Breaking the rules for fan behaviour at matches could mean fines of up to 1,000 roubles or 160 hours of community service and a ban from attending sporting events from between one to six months.