Putin forces Russian hooligans to sign ‘pledge’ to spare rival fans at World Cup

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making hooligans sign a ‘pledge’ to spare rival fans during the World Cup.

A member of one of Moscow’s biggest firms says known thugs must promise not to get involved in violence.

"They are warning off everyone who could organise something," he said.

"They take a statement from you, that you promise not to plan or do anything during the World Cup.

"They have various ways of pressuring people. It is different for every person. Serious work is being done."

He added: "I know people who have signed these papers."

The thug, dressed in a black hooded top with a scarf to hide his face, claimed around 90 per cent of Russia’s active hooligans will move away during the tournament, which kicks off on June 14.

But he warned those who remain behind may yet target England fans.

"I have a feeling that you guys think of yourselves like the Jews do – like you are chosen by God," he tells ITV’s Tonight.

"Why do you guys think that you are some kind of target? No one gives a s*** about you here. Generally wherever there are English fans, there’s some kind of trouble.

"No one would like it if someone started ping in their front room. If someone starts behaving rudely, we tend not to forgive this bad behaviour.

"You need to answer for your bad behaviour. In Russia if you come and start insulting an ordinary man on the street, he is likely to just smash your face in."

England fans tell of the organised Russian gangs who targeted them in Marseilles at Euro 2016. Craig Lyons saw Russian thugs wearing gum shields who had been ‘in training for fighting’.

"It was like a military operation," he recalls. "They set upon people, they were kicking them on the floor. Some had Russian teams on their T-shirts and pictures of Putin.

"A couple had gum shields in. They were not your stereotypical hooligan – they were big and had some training in fighting.

"One lad I went with is a veteran of the Armed Forces. He said he would not go (to Russia). He said it was more terrifying than the wars he served in."

Russian journalist Sasha Goryunov tells the programme the thugs were the ‘Fight Club’ version of the typical hooligan ‘protecting the Motherland’.

He said the 2016 draw against England was ‘like Christmas and New Year rolled into one five times over’ for the Russian thugs desperate to fight the English.

The Russian interior ministry is leading the crackdown on known thugs, and has a ‘blacklist’ of people who are banned from attending sports events.

Russia’s World Cup Gangs, ITV, Thursday 7.30pm.

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