England fans warned to respect war memorials
RUSSIAN supporters here yesterday told Sportsmail that they do not want clashes with England fans this weekend but warned that violation of the city’s monuments to its Second World War casualties would not be tolerated. England’s opening game is against Tunisia on Monday in this south-west Russian city, formerly Stalingrad. Volgograd is dominated by the colossal Motherland memorial to the millions who died in the Second World War battle. British police — who yesterday ordered more than 1,200 England fans with a history of violence to surrender their passports — have urged travelling supporters to show respect. At the city’s Moliere bar, Dmitri Medvdeva said: ‘We have never had many English here and want no trouble. We follow England football — the Premier League — and respect the country but memorials are sacred.’ British police sources say harmony may be helped by the fact that until the 1990s the city was closed to outsiders due to fears of industrial espionage. Visitors are still a novelty. Ordinary locals dismissed the row between Russia and Britain over the Salisbury poisonings as two nations trying to avoid losing face. ‘Even fans most ready to fight do not consider it significant,’ said Grigor Vasiliev. ‘People are pleased the English are coming.’
More than 1,200 Britons known for footballrelated disorder have been stopped from travelling by having their passports seized. But it seems that there is no wish for reprisals after the violence between Russia and England fans in Marseille at Euro 2016. Bar owners suggest that alcohol will be served on Monday. ‘There will be beer in our bar — and that applies to others around here,’ said a worker at one craft beer bar. The Moliere restaurant said it had been ordered not to sell alcohol in bottles on Sunday or Monday but would serve it at tables. England will face Tunisia in high temperatures. The mercury is expected to hit the low ’30s during the day, although the match kicks off at 9pm local time.