Will trouble at UEFA Cup final be repeated in Moscow?

May 15, 2008

Scenes of riot police and bottle-throwing fans marred Wednesday’s UEFA Cup final in Manchester between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg, who won 2-0. A Russian fan was also stabbed.

While police said it was only a small minority of supporters causing trouble, the sight of British football fans making headlines for the wrong reasons comes at just the wrong time — less than a week before tens of thousands of Chelsea and Manchester United followers head to Moscow for the Champions League final.

Should the Russian police be worrying about what might hit their capital city next week?

It seemed that Wednesday’s incidents were largely down to the breakdown of one of the big television screens in a fan park, so perhaps there is little to worry about.

Because of the visa issues and the expense of getting there, there are unlikely to be as many ticketless fans out on the streets in Moscow as there were in Manchester, but then again mix Russian vodka with those few trouble-seeking fans and things could turn nasty.

What do you think?    


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/


UEFA say they don’t expect a repeat of the problems of Manchester in Moscow next week and certainly rule out any retaliation attacks on English supporters.

And you are completely right on the issue of travel expenses etc. Manchester was just too easily accessible and tempting for ticketless Rangers fans, particularly since their club has not tasted much European success.

Add to that the fact that many of the visiting fans will be on “in and out” one-day charters, again unlike Rangers fans who would have travelled by train, plane and automobile to have been in Manchester.

But here’s hoping that we will be debating a piece of Ronaldo magic or a scorcher from Didier Drogba rather than another night of violence.

Posted by Darren Ennis | Report as abusive

Funny how someone can be stabbed at a football match in a situation that was clearly related to football. Yet a few weeks ago when the video game Grand Theft Auto was released, someone was stabbed whilst waiting to buy it and many deemed that the game was the cause of this and there were calls to ban it. I don’t hear any calls to ban football and yet the violence that surrounds it is always evident. It would be interesting to compare the number of football related deaths (yes I realise this supporter didn’t die) in the last ten years to any other cause, including war.

Posted by Andre Dent | Report as abusive

From all the reports I have heard and read, this was absolutely nothing to do with football hooligans, as such, and was not planned. Even independent reporters suggest the trouble started when the screens were unable to show the game.

Alcohol-fuelled trouble is inexcusable, but was inevitable.

Posted by Terry Lane | Report as abusive

This is just another case of thuggery by the Rangers fans, again after a defeat. Surely the time has come for more severe punishment in the form of a ban or the stopping of the supply of tickrts for the away games in Europe. The club has been warned and has adopted a self policing structure in recent years, but this is obviously not working. The club must take steps to root out these troublemakers and not blame it on Chelsea thugs.

Posted by Rod Mc Intosh | Report as abusive

I understand from the outside looking in that these scenes were horrific, but unless you were actually there you don’t realise what was happening. Unbelievably some of the trouble was instigated by CHELSEA casuals as they called themselves wearing Rangers tops. As much as i do not condone any violence and i am angry at some Rangers fans behaviour believe me some of the trouble was 100% started by fans of other clubs wearing Rangers tops. This could happen to any club in the world.It is very easy to sit on the outside and point the finger but some facts have not been reported.

Posted by Allan | Report as abusive

No doubt the Russians have kept all the tanks they rolled into Red Square the other day for the Presidential induction just around the corner in case of trouble. They don’t tolerate violence, but maybe this heavy-handedness will lead to ugly scenes. I hope we can just concentrate on the football like Darren says.

Posted by Tom Pilcher | Report as abusive

only if an english team lose and seeing that both teams in the final are english you can be assured some violence will occur after the match. the brits are poor losers and cannot drink alcohol in a proper manner. football is over rated and english fans think they have a god given right to win everything. frankly the brits shouldnt be allowed off their island. they are loud and rude and have no sense of sportsmanship. thanks to sky tv the premierleague is worth big money and in my opinion it is way over rated and over valued. rangers lost to a foreign team which made it more violent. the scots are hungry to win something but it didnt happen so they resorted to violence, as usual.

Posted by tim | Report as abusive

When in Rome….If the man says no drinking in public then that’s it!!!! I am sure there are plenty of bars around and the heavy police presence is only to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. Behave and it will be an event to remember. Misbehave, wreck it for the true football fans, and you will get what’s coming to you.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive

Tim- nonsense, my good man. On many a level.

Allan- Chelsea fans in Rangers tops? A big boy did it and ran away? If you are to be a Rangers apologist- even in the face of the overwhelming evidence- then you will have to do better than that.

Pure fantasy.

Rangers = Scotland’s shame.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Very easy to point blame and so on, no excuses for violence and some of the scene’s were disgraceful. (I was at the match and with my 10year old son)but to level that at Rangers FC and true fans is a cheap shot. Rangers are by default the largest team in Scotland and due to the socio-religious culture (however distasteful to Scots/Irish teams and culture). This and the close proximity to Manchester, Blackpool, Bolton, Preston, Wigan, Liverpool, Warrington, etc allowed a massive influx of fans to camp there. Don’t kid yourself that Celtic would have been better, the unfortunate situation is a refelction of Scottish culture, not Rangers FC.
I totally agree that the same scene’s won’t happen, but some confrontation might occur with some elements. If Rangers fans thought the police in Manchester over-reacted throughtout the city, Russian militia will be ruthless.

Posted by Covenantor | Report as abusive

Any trouble in Moscow on Wednesday and the KGB and Spetznas won’t stand for it they can take so much of it because there plain people who say exactly what they mean but push them too far and well-if they want to be brought home in body bags thats their desicion not ours.

I’ll be watching the game on my setting room TV with a stiff drink-probably Vodka.

For the ones that live its off too the far Siberian concentration camps were they hose you down with cold water reguarly at 4 a.m in the morning in temperatures of minus >30 below-now that wakes them up alright and sort out the men from the boys…..

Posted by Colin James Watling | Report as abusive

I dont think there will be great trouble at the match, or after, the authorities seem to have it well in hand, I hope it turns out to be a fantastic advert for the game in England and Europe in general.
As to the issue of Rangers, the club itself are not to blame but the supporters most definately are; a minority of a few thousand is a pretty big minority no matter how you try to come up with excuses for it. And Celtic took 80,000 to seville in 100 degrees, drank and sang all day and all night. They lost, but the fans never degenerated into the disgusting rabble that graced Manchester, not a single arrest, and lauded by both the Seville authorities and UEFA for their conduct. Ask the authorities in Barcelona, Manchester, in France and others how the feel about having Rangers back? You wont like the answer!

Posted by CELFROG | Report as abusive