Russia aims to ease hooligan fears

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Members of the Orel Butchers speak to the BBC about their lives as football hooligans

Russia has opened an information centre at its tourist office in London to help ease England fans’ fears about hooligans at the 2018 World Cup.

Russians were blamed for injuring more than 100 England supporters in Marseille during Euro 2016.

Russia hosts the World Cup for the first time next year.

“We want the British people to see that all the doors are open. They can call in to ask any question any time,” said Alexei Cherepanov of Visit Russia.

“This is what we are here for, to dispel their doubts about security matters and nuances of the trip.”

A BBC Panorama documentary this year revealed how Russia fans were planning further trouble at the World Cup.

As part of attempts to address the threat of violence, Russia will issue special identity cards which will be needed to enter the stadiums and can be used as a visa to enter the country.

In June, Russia hosted the Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

The tournament, which passed off without any major incidents of fan violence or problems with infrastructure, was described by Fifa president Gianni Infantino as a “great success”.

The Visit Russia office in London, which is in a testing phase, will be officially opened on 1 September.

It will also provide travel and accommodation information for fans, Cherepanov told the TASS news agency.

The World Cup will be held in 11 cities across Russia from 14 June to 15 July.

How to avoid football violence at Russia 2018 World Cup

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