A Russian MP has urged Russian fans who were involved in the violence over the weekend in Marseille to “keep it up”.
Igor Lebedev, who sits on the executive committee of the Russian football union, is an MP from the nationalist Liberal Democratic party and the deputy chairman of the Russian parliament and he claimed on his Twitter account that Russia fans who were involved in violent clashes on Saturday should be defended.
“I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting,” Igor Lebedev wrote on Twitter. “Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”
“I don’t understand those politicians and officials who are criticising our fans. We should defend them, and then we can sort it out when they come home,” Lebedev wrote in a series of tweets.
“What happened in Marseille and in other French towns is not the fault of fans, but about the inability of police to organise this kind of event properly.”
Brice Robin, chief Marseille prosecutor, told reporters that Russia fans were well prepared for fighting, describing them as “hyper violent” and “hyper rapid”.
— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) June 11, 2016
A 50-year-old English fan is also in a critical condition with severe brain injuries after being attacked by Russia supporters armed with iron bars.
Speaking to Russian publication life, Lebedev said Russian ultras has “defended the honour of their country”.
“In nine out of 10 cases, football fans go to games to fight, and that’s normal. The lads defended the honour of their country and did not let English fans desecrate our motherland. We should forgive and understand our fans,” said Lebedev.
— Nepareizais (@Nepareizais) June 12, 2016
“Our fans are far from the worst; it’s unclear why a lot of media are trying to say our fans’ actions were shameful. You should be objective. If there had been no provocation from English fans, it’s unlikely our fans would have got into fights in the stands.”
UEFA has opened a disciplinary case against Russia for the scenes after the final whistle in their game against England. The violence came after several days of violence in Marseille, much of it involving England fans.
UEFA has warned both England and Russia they could be thrown out of the tournament if the violence continues.