A Russian lawmaker wants to solve the country’s growing problem with soccer fans fighting before games by legalizing it and turing it into a sport.
Russia is the host of the 2018 World Cup, the world’s largest sporting event. The country faces pressure from the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to solve its problem with hooliganism and ensure the safety of international fans during the tournament.
Igor Lebedev, a member of the Russian parliament, recently introduced his new sport “fight,” the Associated Press reported Sunday. The rules are simple — 20 unarmed fighters on each side go at it inside an arena. Lebedev argues the sport “could turn fans’ aggression in a peaceful direction.”
Russia nearly got disqualified from the European championships last summer in France after hundreds of hooligans brutally assaulted English fans in the city of Marseille. England is notorious for its violent hooligans and Lebedev actively cheered on his countrymen over Twitter.
“I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting,” Lebedev wrote in a tweet. “Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”
Lebedev is confident Russia would become a powerhouse in his new sport.
“Russia would be a pioneer in a new sport,” Lebedev said, according to AP. “English fans arrive, for example, and start picking fights. And they get the answer — challenge accepted. A meeting in a stadium at a set time.”
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