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UK Police Call on Football Fans to Avoid Provocations During 2018 FIFA World Cup

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK police have called on the country's football fans to avoid participating in provocative actions during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, local media reported on Monday.

Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) head for football policing, said that the escalated tensions in UK-Russian relations have increased the risk of potential violence during the World Cup.

"[There is a] very strong nationalistic, patriotic sense running throughout [the Russian] society which is firmly, at least ostensibly, behind President [Vladimir Putin]," Roberts said, as quoted by The Times.

He called on UK fans to refrain from waiving flags with St George’s Cross — the flag of England — in public areas and singing provocative songs.

"Supporters need to be mindful and we need to show a bit of cultural sensitivity. We wouldn’t expect supporters of other countries’ teams to come to the UK and act in a disrespectful manner around the Cenotaph [war memorial in London]," Roberts added.

Russia will host its first FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15. Matches will take place in Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, and Yekaterinburg.

The Russian-UK relations significantly deteriorated in March over attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury. The United Kingdom accused Russia of being involved in the attack with what is believed by London to be the A234 nerve agent. Moscow has refuted the allegations and repeatedly pointed to the lack of evidence provided by London.

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