William’s World Cup hooliganism fears
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