Russian National Football League launches investigation after barred fans clash with police outside stadium before match (VIDEO)
An investigation has been launched after footage emerged that appeared to show a team’s away fans being blocked from entering a stadium amid a chaotic clash with police, with one account alleging that supporters were mistreated.
Footage shared by Sergey Kulakov, the general manager of Shinnik Yaroslavl, showed a group of his club’s fans being kept behind barriers outside Vladimir Torpedo’s stadium before a Russian Football National League (FNL) 2 match on Sunday.
Security personnel in riot gear formed a line and officers were seen moving towards the mob before dragging individuals away and into a van in what Kulakov claims was a late decision to block the traveling supporters from attending the match.
“It turns out that in Vladimir you cannot root for the teams that come to their city,” said Kulakov, providing an overhead view of the fractious scenes.
“At least, that’s what the [Torpedo] security officer thinks, who said at the pre-match meeting: ‘We will not let them in.’ The man said [it], the man did [it].”
Kulakov appeared to claim that Shinnik had told him the order was partly made by the Rospotrebnadzor – the Russian ministry for consumer rights and human welfare.
“He said the same thing on the eve of the game, justifying the decision [by saying] the ban [was imposed by] Rospotrebnadzor,” said Kulakov.
“FC Shinnik made an official request [to see] the so-called decision of Rospotrebnadzor, but did not receive it since such a decision does not exist.
“Yesterday, we agreed with the director of the club that the fans would be allowed in as, I repeat, there [were] no decisions [by] Rospotrebnadzor.”
Kulakov added that he had a longstanding “good relationship” with his Torpedo counterparts, but warned that the actions of individual club employees “cannot be called anything other than lawlessness.”
“We will contact the RFU and the FNL on this issue,” he pledged. “Football for the fans.”
Torpedo manager Alexander Akimov, who oversaw a 2-0 defeat for his lowly side against the runaway league leaders, appeared to suggest that Shinnik fans had arranged a procession dangerously near a centuries-old architectural monument that belonged to the club.
“We were waiting for the fans in a normal, adequate manner,” he told newsvladimir. “Law enforcement officers did the right thing to detain them.”
A fan account produced a photo showing an alternative view of the confrontation and said that away fans routinely have their “access blocked” regardless of “whether citizens violate the law or not”.
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“Fans of Shinnik go to Vladimir… in an organized group on two buses of about 100 people,” it alleged. “The rest get there on their own.
“Even at the entrance to the city on the buses, they notice that an unknown car is following them. They arrive at a place not far from the stadium and organize a five-to-seven-minute walk to [the ground]. The car continues to follow the fans.
“When approaching the stadium, a policeman with a megaphone suddenly appears and shouts loudly. Some do not notice him, but most of them go to the sidewalk.
“Guest fans reach the stadium, pass through the frames of metal detectors and see the controllers waiting in the territory of the arena. Suddenly, the security forces take the group into a cordon.
“Conversations with the police begin, attempts to find out: ‘What’s the matter?’ They do not lead to anything: the [security leader] shrugs his hands – he has an order to localize the group and he cannot do anything about it.
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“Then the security forces pull their first victim out of the crowd. People are outraged… and call on the police to stop the lawlessness. At the same time, they do not commit any violence or aggressive actions in relation to representatives of the authorities.
“Instead of answering, [they] begin to pull people out one at a time in order to shove them roughly into the paddy wagon, where there was not even a light.”
The account claimed that a woman needed an ambulance and about 100 people were taken to an outdoor cage where they were ignored by police in cold and rainy conditions for around three hours.
Small groups of people were then allegedly “interrogated for 40-to-50 minutes”.
“Some are released after drawing up a protocol on an administrative offense, but very reluctantly and only after watching a video from the stadium,” they said.
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“Others are transferred to the assembly hall for later, while some are sent straight to the cell.
“[Some] who do not have documents with them are filed with a violation of antiquated measures – they were in a public place without a passport – and a fine of 5,000 rubles [$69] is imposed.”
The account claimed that a bus was forced to leave without fans while another waited, with some supporters only released at 2am and others “awaiting trial”.
League bosses issued a statement saying they were “clarifying all the circumstances of this episode”, adding that the “restrictive measures taken against the guests look excessive at first glance.”
“The Russian Football Union and the Football National League will [announce] all the details of the [investigation] as new information becomes available,” they said.
Blogger Yevgeny Savin, who is the founder and president of Moscow-based FNL 2 club FC Krasava, shared Kulakov’s footage with his Instagram following of more than 775,000 and said: “No one here whitewashes fans and so on, but football without fans, with empty stands, is dull sh*t – and in FNL 2, it is doubly dull sh*t. My opinion.”
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