Russian hooligans ‘don’t drink’ and ‘treat themselves as athletes’ for fights

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The scenes of Marseille, at Euro 2016, still live fresh in the memories of those who were there.

England clashed with Russia for the pairs opening match in the French port city, and Vasili Berezutski's stoppage-time leveller is seldom remembered; it's overshadowed by the violence surrounding the game.

Plastic chairs and beer bottles were thrown across the market square, which now resembled a war scene, as fans clashed around the bars and pubs of the Vieux Port district.

Both sides suffered on the pitch too, England were dumped out by Iceland while Russia didn't make it past the group stages.

"There were 150 Russian supporters, who in reality, were hooligans," Brian Robin, Marseille's chief prosecutor, told the press following the events of 2016.

"They are used to, and trained, for this type of behaviour; they were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action."

And in the BBC documentary 'Russia's Hooligan Army', these claims were backed up as the images of forest fights and training centres were revealed.

There were fears of more violence during the 2018 World Cup, however, nothing on the scale of Marseille.

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The BBC report from the states: "It seems that, in France, violence is the biggest motivator itself – Russian hooligans trying to prove their supremacy.

"I've been told a key characteristics of Russian hooligans today is that they work out and they don't drink.

"In fact, one former Russian hooligan told me that they describe themselves as athletes."

Russia are now preparing for the Euros, and they will play two of their group games in Saint Petersberg.

'The Venice of the North' was also a host city for the World Cup three years ago, and it has been selected to host one of the quarter-finals.

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