Home Technology News More than 1,200 UK football hooligans blocked from flying to Russia

More than 1,200 UK football hooligans blocked from flying to Russia

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Dozens of football hooligans have failed to surrender their passports ahead of Thursday’s World Cup opening ceremony, raising fears they could attempt to travel to Russia.

Police are now visiting known hooligans who have yet to hand over their travel documents in a bid to ensure they remain at home.

Latest Home Office figures show that 58 people banned from travelling to the World Cup have not surrendered their passports since the exclusion period began on June 4.

Of the 1,312 individuals subject to football banning orders preventing them from travelling to overseas games, 1,254 have either handed over the documents voluntarily, been forced to do so or did not have a passport in the first place.

Police are in place at UK ports to stop any suspected troublemakers trying to get to  to the tournament, which promises to open with a spectacular ceremony at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Officials say they are confident that few, if any, hooligans will succeed in getting to Russia, and if they do they will be met by a huge security operation.

Nick Hurd , Minister for Policing and the Fire Service said: “The World Cup is a festival of football and is no place for violence or disorder.

“The UK’s system of football banning orders is unique and means that people intent on causing trouble in Russia will instead be staying at home.”

Metal detectors and security near the entrance to Red Square, Moscow Credit: Aaron Chown /PA

Football banning orders lasting up to 10 years aim to stop hooligans travelling to international fixtures and if breached can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and a six-month jail term.

Officials will be keen to avoid a repeat of scenes at Euro 2016 in France, when England fans were involved in violent clashes, including with Russia supporters.

Around 10,000 fans are expected to travel from the UK to Russia in the coming days, with each required to have a unique fan number allowing them access to the games.

There is a large police presence in parts of Moscow, with airport-style scanners and searches in operation around Luzhniki Stadium ahead of kick off.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the UK’s national lead for football policing, said: “Ahead of the World Cup, a comprehensive policing operation has been in place across the country to account for passports of those on banning orders, which has once again seen only a handful of those outstanding.

“The legislation used for banning orders is the most effective of its kind, and affords us the ability to ensure the vast majority of England supporters travelling to Russia are genuine fans who simply want to enjoy the tournament.”

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The warnings come after the head of the German football association said the German secret service had identified threats from terrorist groups intent on attacking the tournament.

Reinhard Grindel, president of the DFB, admitted there was no guarantee fans would be safe from the threat from a lone-wolf extremist.

He said: “We know from our secret service there a lot of videos from different terrorist groups which say they want to do something during the World Cup and they request their followers to do actions.

“I think the security administration is so good that groups who were active will be seen and they will prevent a big terror act, but you can never, ever, say it is impossible for a lonesome terrorist to make something.

He added: “It is clear that in a country like Russia you need security and it’s in our interest, in the interests of our team, of our fans to have security. On the other hand it should not be so much that it overloads everything so we must find a wise, middle way.”

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Mr Grindel, who was in Moscow for the Fifa Congress which on Wednesday awarded the 2026 World Cup to a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the US, suggested the British government’s boycott of the World Cup was “unwise”.

Officials from the English FA and British Government and Royal Family are not expected to be present, following the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.

But Mr Grindel said: “If you play in Russia, this is not similar to supporting everything Mr (Vladimir) Putin is politically doing, but the point is to build bridges between the civil societies.”



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