Po­lice hunt 100 miss­ing footie thugs COP WARNS THE FANS TO PLAY IT SAFE

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Dan War­bur­ton

NEARLY 100 Bri­tish foot­ball hooli­gans have not handed in their pass­ports – four days be­fore the World Cup kicks off.

Po­lice spot­ters are at air­ports in case any of the 1,700 peo­ple banned from travel for dis­or­der try to leave for Rus­sia.

Fears over trav­el­ling fans’ wel­fare grew this week as MPS warned of the risk of ho­mo­pho­bic, racist and anti-bri­tish at­tacks.

Po­lit­i­cal ten­sions are run­ning high af­ter Bri­tain blamed Rus­sia for March’s poi­son­ing of ex-rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal, 66, and daugh­ter Yu­lia, 33, in Sal­is­bury. Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin de­nied it was a Krem­lin hit.

Threat

Rowdy Three Lions fans may risk a “dis­pro­por­tion­ate” re­sponse by Rus­sian po­lice over “ban­ter”.

Last night Deputy Chief Con­sta­ble Mark Roberts, UK’S top foot­ball cop, is­sued warn­ings be­fore Eng­land’s first match against Tu­nisia.

He said Eng­land flags and fans were seen as “tro­phies” to hooli­gans and Bri­tish cops can­not guar­an­tee the safety of the 9,000 trav­el­ling from th UK.

He said Eng­land’s opener on June 18 is in Vol­gograd, which used to be Stal­in­grad and has many sen­si­tive sites.

He said: “We’d not ex­pect for­eign fans to come to Lon­don, drink to ex­cess and drape their flags on the Ceno­taph. That would clearly cause of­fence.”

Eng­land fans fear a re­peat of bloody clashes with Moscow-based hooli­gans at Euro 2016 in Mar­seille, France.

Mr Roberts ad­mit­ted the on­go­ing ten­sions with Rus­sia are “dif­fi­cult” but de­nied they hin­dered or­gan­is­ing se­cu­rity for Bri­tish sup­port­ers. He said they worked closely with Rus­sian po­lice at the Euros and still have a good re­la­tion­ship. Rus­sian hooli­gans have is­sued a “death threat” to all Eng­land fans dar­ing to travel to group games in Nizhny Nov­gorod, Kalin­ingrad and Vol­gograd.

It is feared Rus­sia’s ul­tras, who stage mil­i­tary-style train­ing ses­sions, will strike. Mr Roberts has also warned Eng­land fans against singing pos­si­bly of­fen­sive chants in the be­lief it is ban­ter. He said: “It’s just not funny – cer­tainly in Rus­sia that sort of at­tempted hu­mour will not go down well.” He said if there were at­tacks on Bri­tish fans be­cause of their race, eth­nic­ity or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion he would de­mand ac­tion from Rus­sia’s au­thor­i­ties. Any­one con­victed of tak­ing part in Mar­seille-style hooli­gan dis­or­der may face up to 15 years in jail in Rus­sia. And as­sault­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer car­ries a term of up to ten years.

Mr Roberts also warned that touts caught try­ing to flog tick­ets could end up with ru­inously heavy penal­ties.

In a slid­ing scale of fines, touts sell­ing tick­ets for the group stages will face a penalty of a few hun­dred pounds.

But sell­ing a ticket to the fi­nal could earn them a £20,000 fine. They may have to pay be­fore be­ing booted out.

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