Liverpool and Manchester United fans warned to behave in Russia
Clubs play Champions League games within 24 hours of each other in Moscow
Spartak Moscow’s supporters burn flares during the Champions League match against NK Maribor. The Russian club was fined €60,000 and their fans have been banned from the away game against Sevilla. Photograph: Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool and Manchester United supporters have been warned they face “a long stay in Russia” should trouble occur at their Champions League fixtures in Moscow this week.
The north-west rivals are both in action in the Russian capital, with Jürgen Klopp’s team facing Spartak Moscow on Tuesday and Jose Mourinho’s side playing CSKA on Wednesday. Security teams from Liverpool and United have been working with their Russian counterparts in an attempt to avoid problems for the estimated 2,000 away fans expected in Moscow.
However, the head of the Russian Football Union’s security committee, Vladimir Markin, has warned there will be severe penalties for anyone found guilty of hooliganism.
Markin told the Tass state news agency: “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. 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.”
Spartak and CSKA have had problems with the behaviour of their own supporters recently. Liverpool’s opponents were last week fined €60,000 and their fans banned from Spartak’s next Champions League away fixture in Sevilla by Uefa after a flare was fired towards the referee during their 1-1 draw with Maribor in Slovenia.
The Russian authorities are under scrutiny to deal with hooliganism in the country before next summer’s World Cup but, as Markin has made clear, their focus is not only internal.
Liverpool and United have advised their fans not to wear club colours or travel alone in Moscow and there will be a heavy security presence at both Champions League fixtures this week.