Misbehaving Liverpool, United fans face 'long stay in Russia,' security head warns

Unruly travelling supporters of Liverpool and Manchester United could be in for an extended stay in Russia if they’re found guilty of hooliganism during this week’s trip to Moscow.

An estimated 2,000 fans from both clubs are expected to travel to the Russian capital, where Liverpool takes on Spartak Moscow on Tuesday before Manchester United clashes with CSKA Moscow the following day.

It’s believed that both Premier League teams have coordinated with Russian security forces to avoid trouble, according to Andy Hunter of the Guardian.

Fans of the Moscow-based clubs have been far from innocent in recent times, with UEFA charging Spartak earlier this month after a flare was shot toward a match official during a Champions League encounter with Maribor.

But the head of the Russian Football Union’s security committee, Vladimir Markin, delivered a stern warning for anyone found guilty of hooliganism, saying that English supporters will face the same “suitable punishment” that would normally be issued to Russian citizens.

“I don’t want to scare anyone but I warn those who plan to come here not to support their side and see the country but to commit hooliganism: the law is the same for all, not just for Russians,” Markin said. “Those who break it will face a suitable punishment, possibly in the form of a long stay in Russia, in conditions our guests won’t like.”

Liverpool and United fans have also been warned against wearing team colours and travelling alone in Moscow.

There’s been a heightened sense that there could possibly be trouble between supporters from the two nations since the European Championship in the summer of 2016, when various scuffles between fans broke out on the streets of Marseille ahead of England’s match against Russia. Violence also occurred inside the stadium when Russian supporters spilled over into the English section at the Stade Velodrome and began kicking and punching while fans ran for safety.

However, last season provided a glimmer of hope over security concerns when United fans were welcomed with open arms ahead of a Europa League fixture in Rostov, Russia, where blankets were handed out to the travelling supporters.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

EPL | theScore

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