MOSCOW, June 21 (R-Sport) - Russia's lower house of parliament Friday passed measures to ban convicted hooligans from sports events for up to seven years in the bill's crucial second reading.
The so-called Fan Law is aimed squarely at keeping the 2018 World Cup in Russia safe from hooligans, authorities say, and introduces a similar system to Britain's football banning orders.
The bill must now go through a third reading, usually a formality, set for July 3, before going to the upper house and then to President Vladimir Putin for final approval.
The bans would apply to those convicted of an offense at a sports event, with the minimum ban set at six months. There is no provision in existing Russian law for such a sanction.
If someone serving a ban is found at a sports event, they can be fined up to 25,000 rubles ($765) or detained for 15 days. Police and sports federations will be required to keep lists of violators, while stadium owners must fit CCTV systems to identify troublemakers.
The Russian sanctions are lower than those in Britain, another country with a history of football hooliganism. British football banning orders range from three to 10 years and include a provision to confiscate hooligans’ passports when their team plays abroad.
There were more than 14,000 offenses committed at Russian sporting events over the last three years, according to Deputy Sports Minister Natalia Parshikova. Firework-throwing and racist chants are commonplace at Russian football matches, while violence occasionally erupts.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has previously called for disruptive supporters to be slapped with life bans from all sports events.
Many Russian football supporters, including Spartak Moscow's vast fan club, are unhappy about a provision in the Fan Law that would force anyone buying tickets to a sports event to present ID at point of sale. This is already set to be implemented voluntarily by the Russian Premier League from next season.
(UPDATES that bill passed second reading, adds details of sanctions for violators, edits throughout)