England fans face an alcohol ban the day before any 2018 World Cup game in Moscow, with authorities taking measures to ensure the ugly scenes that tarnished Euro 2016 in France are not repeated at this summer’s tournament.
The European Championship was marred by fan hooliganism during the group stages, particularly in Marseille where England and Russia supporters clashed in violent scenes that left numerous people with injuries, businesses damaged and the reputation of the sport dragged through the mud.
Russian hooligans were found to have objects including mixed martial arts gloves and gumshields on them, while England supporters were heavily criticised for their behaviour that was largely fuelled by alcohol.
In an attempt to avoid similar skirmishes, Russian authorities have implemented a ban on the capital city that will see the sale of alcohol restricted at bars, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and off-licences on the day before and day of any match.
“Executive power bodies have set the borders where the sale and consumption will be banned on the eve and day of a match,” announced Kirill Malyshkin, Moscow City Hall’s deputy head of regional security, at a Russia-Peru cultural event in Lima.
In total, 12 matches will be affected at the World Cup by the restriction, although fans will still be able to purchase alcoholic drinks inside stadia and at official Fifa fan zones. Should England finish runner-up in Group G – which also contains Belgium, Tunisia and Panama – they will face a last-16 clash against the winner of Group H at the Otkrytie Arena in Moscow, with the semi-final also due to be held in Moscow should Gareth Southgate’s side make the last four.
The tournament opener, involving hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia on 14 June, will also be held in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium.
The decision is far more severe than the one taken earlier this month on drug use, with the Russia 2018 World Cup organising committee announcing in February that fans can take marijuana, cocaine and even heroin into a stadium providing that they have the relevant supporting medical documents, in accordance with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union regulations.
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