Wil­liam’s World Cup hooli­gan­ism fears

Sunday Sun - - News - CATHER­INE WYATT scoopss@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

Re­porter PRINCE Wil­liam has con­fessed he fears pos­si­ble hooli­gan­ism and racism in Rus­sia dur­ing the 2018 World Cup, exNew­cas­tle star John Beres­ford has re­vealed.

Wil­liam made the com­ments to the ex-United de­fender, now an anti-racism cam­paigner and US TV pun­dit, as he pre­sented him with an MBE at Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Beres­ford, who was be­ing hon­oured for his work with Show Racism the Red Card, said Wil­liam, who is pres­i­dent of the FA, made the re­marks dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion at Fri­day’s in­vesti­ture.

The re­tired star, 51, said: “I was just ex­plain­ing how we use foot­ball as a tool to get to the kids and either he’s very knowl­edge­able about foot­ball or he’s done his home­work, he knew I played at New­cas­tle United which was great.

“But also ... he was say­ing we’re do­ing so well over here, which we are, but he’s slightly con­cerned of, such as, you know, the World Cup’s in Rus­sia, and they do have a prob­lem with hooli­gan­ism and racism, so hope­fully if we can sort of tar­get it over here it’s like a knockon ef­fect.

“We’re very good, but we’ve got a long way to go abroad.”

Beres­ford was hon­oured for his longterm ser­vices to ed­u­ca­tional work, vis­it­ing schools and teach­ing chil­dren with Show Racism the Red Card, which was launched in 1996.

He said the Rus­sian hooli­gans who cause trou­ble were “ter­ror­ists in a way”, and warned Eng­land fans to stay safe dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, which starts next June.

He said: “The hooli­gan­ism over there and the right-wing, it’s bad, it really is.

“The prob­lem you have is they will tar­get the Eng­land fans be­cause the English fans will re­act.

“English fans pre­dom­i­nantly, when they go away, they go in groups, they go in their club colours as well as the Eng­land kit, and the Eng­land na­ture is to drink. We like to en­joy our­selves and the Rus­sians will tar­get that.”

There were scenes of vi­o­lence at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in 2016 as sup­port­ers of the two coun­tries clashed, with two Eng­land fans left in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion af­ter three days of vi­o­lence in Mar­seille, France.

At the time, po­lice said there were fears that five fans would die, and that “the Rus­sians came with se­ri­ous in­tent to carry out bar­baric vi­o­lence”.

Beres­ford said his char­ity work was aimed at “try­ing to ed­u­cate the kids to un­der­stand what’s right”.

He added: “I re­mem­ber go­ing to foot­ball games and mak­ing racial com­ments be­cause I wasn’t ed­u­cated, and the ear­lier you get to the kids the bet­ter it is.

“You’ve got Is­lam­o­pho­bia, there’s so many is­sues now, it’s tough for kids, there’s so much go­ing on.”

The for­mer de­fender said hav­ing Wil­liam present him with the MBE was an “added bonus”. John Beres­ford is made an MBE by the Duke of Cam­bridge at Buck­ing­ham Palace

DO­MINIC LIPINSKI

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