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    BBC Documentary About Russian Hooligans is 'a Smear Campaign Against Moscow'

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    A documentary made by the BBC about Russian football fans was made to discredit Russia ahead of the upcoming 2018 World Cup. It alleges that Russian hardline fans will threaten to stir up trouble during the tournament. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Dougie Brimson, best-selling author of several books about football-related violence.

    When asked to give a brief rundown of his opinion about the motive behind the release of this controversial documentary, Dougie Brimson said that FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia came as a shock to many people, particularly in the English media.

    “They quickly went on a campaign to discredit Russia and Russian football in the hope that the tournament would be taken away from Russia and given to London.”

    He added that the way the clashes that happened during last year European championship in France were portrayed was a clear attempt to discredit Russia and Russian football.

    Clashes between Russian and English fans during and after a game in Marseille resulted in at least 30 people getting injured. However, the BBC documentary, aptly titled “Russia’s Hooligan Army,” makes little or no mention at all of similar brawls happening between fans of other countries that took part in the UEFA Euro 2016 championship.

    Dougie Brimson mentioned violent behavior by French and German football fans and those from East European countries, none of which seems to have been reported “because the focus is on English and Russian fans only.”

    He added that, by releasing the documentary just a year and a half before the World Cup, the BBC clearly aimed to portray Russia as a right wing, extremely violent, racist, and homophobic country. There was a similar smear campaign launched against Russia ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

    “I’ve been in Russia many times and I’m a great fan of Russia and its people, but the perception being driven by our media, which has a strong leftwing bias, is that Russia is inherently racist and violent,” Brimson said.

    “What I’m trying to do is to highlight both sides of the coin, that there is a problem and there is a way of dealing with this problem. One thing Russian fans need to understand is that violent and racist behavior damages Europe’s perception of Russia,” he added.

    Dougie Brimson also underscored the need to convince Russian fans that they represent their country abroad.

    “There will be thousands of English fans going to Russia and they are confident that the Russian government and Russian football will provide a spectacular tournament held in a country people are not afraid to come to,” Dougie Brimson emphasized.

    When asked how he expected the 2018 World Cup in Russia will play out, he said that he thought it was going to be a genuinely fantastic tournament.

    “Just like the 2014 Sochi Olympics which many said would be terrible and which turned out to be fantastic. I believe the 2018 World Cup will be exactly the same. It will show the world that Russian football, the Russian people and the Russian country are amazing things,” Dougie Brimson said in conclusion.

    A BBC2 documentary aired on Thursday night shows a group of young Russian football fans allegedly preparing for brawls and scuffles during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    Meanwhile, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Thursday he does not fear that hooligans will cause any troubles during world football’s main event, despite reported threats against foreign fans.

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    smear campaign, 2016 World Cup, football fans, documentary, UEFA, FIFA, Gianni Infantino, Dougie Brimson, United Kingdom
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