Inside the Fighting Culture of Russian Soccer Hooliganism
ESPN takes a long look at the new wave of soccer fan violence emerging in Russia.
In Russia, soccer is a full-contact sport. For soccer fans, that is.
In an in-depth piece that will be in an upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine, the network takes a look at the new wave of soccer hooliganism emerging in Russia, which may be on full display during the upcoming World Cup—and it’s pretty alarming.
To prepare for confrontations with other soccer fans, hooligans from groups like IX Legion go deep into the woods to practice fighting away from the prying eyes of authorities.
Murder is frowned upon at these unsupervised fights, but everything short of that is generally considered to be acceptable: head-stomps, knee-drops and repeated face-kicking are commonplace.
Opinions are split about how much hooliganism will take place at the World Cup as Russia has made it a priority to keep things in control, but it seems likely some skirmishes—whether they are publicized or not—will occur.
We will find out in two weeks.
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