Those who burned the Chechen flag must be punished, not promoted

25September 2013 - 11:54am 

By Vestnik Kavkaza

In September at the football match of the Russian Championships between Zenit and Terek, fans of the St. Petersburg team tried to burn the Chechen flag. The club from Grozny addressed the football structures to deal with the provocateurs. It is not the first row involving fans. Teams often suffer from the fact that they have to be responsible for the behaviour of their fans.

The member of the working group of the Russian Ministry of Sports on development of the code of behaviour for fans, Eduard Latypov, thinks that developments at stadiums are consequences, not a reason: “The reasons are clear – uncomfortable conditions for fans, the aggressive behaviour of law-enforcement bodies toward fans. People who attend stadiums often get into jams. In Moscow fans can be kept in certain sectors for an hour. You won’t face this in Europe. The reason is the low cultural level of the spectators in fan sectors. Why do people swear at stadiums? Because our life makes them! Our football! So, we have to make a difference between reasons and consequences, not try to find the guilty among young people. There should be no collective responsibility for violations of the law, let it be individual responsibility. If the police couldn’t find the guilty party, don’t make everybody equal.”

“Usually it takes several days to hold someone liable for a petty crime,” the president of the Baltic Bar Association, Yuri Novolodsky says. “This time the incident was considered a petty crime, despite common sense and the law. In fact, the deed committed by the man is a penal act. We are a federative state, where state symbols of the federation are protected. But along with the state symbols, symbols of the federal regions should be protected as well. It is a serious complaint against our laws.”

Answering Vestnik Kavkaza’s question on his attitude to fans of the Caucasian teams, the most famous fan of Zenit, actor Mikhail Boyarsky, stated: “I don’t make any difference between fans. I adore them. I love them because they are very interesting, bold, brave people who encourage development of sports. Of course the only exception is radical fans. They hold football together. Any fan of any team is my friend.”

According to Boyarsky, “too much attention is paid to fans. We should not discuss them. All conflicts should be settled strictly on-site without stirring-up. Those who are guilty should be eliminated, so it doesn’t become a habit. It is a pity that the team suffers, loses points. It doesn’t influence the image of the city, because a city is a big family and there is a black sheep in any flock. All towns have such problems.”

Boyarsky is supported by the president of the All-Russian Fan Community, Alexander Shprygin. He said in his interview to Vestnik Kavkaza that “all organized fan clubs criticize the incident which happen at the match between Zenit and Terek, but the story shouldn’t be exaggerated. Those guilty were arrested and punished, Zenit will be punished for the behaviour of its fans. We wish there were no such incidents.”

According to Shprygin, “we should wait for a verdict, we should wait for a decision by the disciplinary committee of the RFU on Zenit, which is responsible for the behaviour of its fans. Today the fans are the heart and soul of a stadium. They support teams, and we should not judge them according to deeds of certain citizens. I think this story is over; those guilty are punished. Probably the punishment is small or big, but at least we have law, the court, and the verdict is handed down. The mass media shouldn’t discuss the story for a week and conduct video bridges.”



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