A Russian politician wants to make hooliganism an organized sport ahead of 2018 World Cup
A Russian politician, Igor Lebedev, has proposed the radical idea of turning soccer hooliganism into an organized sport.
Lebedev, who is deputy chairman for the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, and sits on the Russian parliament, outlined his ridiculous ideas on the party’s official website.
“Russia would be a pioneer in a new sport. England fans arrive, for example, and start bullying and looking for trouble – and the challenge is accepted,” he said. “A meeting in a stadium at a set time. There’s 20 people on each side, without weapons, and the rules could be found on our website.”
In Lebedev’s view, by introducing structure and a strict set of rules for the “sport,” any aggression would be channeled in a “peaceful direction.”
Lebedev previously generated controversy in the footballing world when he seemingly encouraged Russian hooligans fighting at Euro 2016.
“I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting,” said Lebedev at the time. “Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”
He doubled down on his comments in another interview, saying: “In nine out of 10 cases, football fans go to games to fight, and that’s normal. The lads defended the honor of their country and did not let English fans desecrate our motherland. We should forgive and understand our fans.”
Lebedev seems pretty serious about it, but it’s unknown what sort of support he has for the initiative. It’s probably safe to say it won’t be looked upon very kindly by FIFA or most soccer fans though.