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Russian Politician: Let's Legalize Fan Violence And Make It A New Spectator Sport

Back in June, when a group of Russian hooligans brutalized English fans at Euro 2016, most of the country’s politicians condemned the violence (even while playing coy about how it could have possibly happened). Igor Lebedev, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament, had a different perspective: “I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting,” he said, according to The Guardian. “Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”

He apparently learned nothing from the backlash there, because now he’s back with something far worse and far more stupid. Instead of just encouraging fans to fight, he’s apparently decided, why don’t we organize it and make it a global sport in its own right? Lebedev, who sits on the executive committee of the Russian football union, appears to have proposed exactly that earlier this week. 


The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia’s homepage currently features, after an article about the fight on international terrorism and a note about administrative rejuvenation and other seemingly ordinary party fare, “Battle of the Fans—It Is Also a Sport. Potentially.” (As roughly translated by Google, at least.) This brilliant policy proposal features Lebedev claiming that the Russian hooligans were just misunderstood and that fans of other countries should be excited to channel their pride into violence just as the Russian contingent of Euro 2016 did last summer. (A reminder of how that ended: two fans were left in comas, and the Russians responsible were deported from France.) But that was all the fault of the French government, according to Lebedev, and the way to resolve any problems is definitely just more fighting. Twenty unarmed competitors will represent each side in the arena, per Lebedev’s vision, and they’ll all follow the rules. (He doesn’t detail what these rules might be or how they might be enforced, but he promises to make them available online.) People will name the new sport after the Russian word for “fight,” and draka will become globally known the same way that sputnik did.

The next World Cup will begin in Moscow in June 2018.

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