Dozens of fans have been barred from attending football matches at the current edition of FIFA
Confederations Cup in Russia as reports suggest that authorities are intensifying a clampdown on potential troublemakers.
Fans said Sunday that authorities had cancelled Russian government-issued fan IDs hours before a match between Russia and New Zealand held a day earlier, making them unable to attend the match despite having tickets.
The head of Russian Fans’ Union, Alexander Shprygin, said he had driven part of the way from Moscow
to St. Petersburg when authorities notified him by email that his ID was cancelled. The famous supporter of Russia’s national team, who was twice expelled from France last year following violence between Russian and English supporters in Marseille, said he heard similar stories from at least 50 people.
“There’s basically no reason for this … I’ve never broken the law at a football game, never been arrested. I don’t know why this happened,” Shprygin said, adding that fans supporting major Russian clubs like Lokomotiv Moscow and Dynamo Moscow were also refused.
A company providing legal services to fans in Moscow also said it had received “tens of messages from fans about the annulment of previously issued fan IDs.”
The Multilingual Fan Support Center said it was planning an appeal for those affected by the measure, adding that no reasons were given.
However, the appeal has little chances of success as authorities have some sweeping jurisdictions to reject permits issued for fans to attend games at major international tournaments like the Confederations Cup.
The ban comes as Russian officials still seek more robust mechanisms to filter potential troublemakers for the next year’s World Cup. The country has also been the scene of some high-profile terrorist attacks since it began to launch an anti-terror operation in Syria.