'Well done, keep it up!': Russian politician defends hooligans after weekend of intense fan violence
A Russian politician has defended the behaviour of Russian football fans, saying their violent clashes with English supporters were because they were defending the nation's honour.
Igor Lebedev, a member of the Russian Duma and the committee of the Russian Football Union, took to twitter to show support for the fans who were involved in hooliganism before, during and after Russia's 1-1 draw with England at Euro 2016.
"I do not see anything terrible in fighting fans," he tweeted.
"On the contrary, well done our guys. Keep it up!"
Lebedev, the chairman of the parliamentary group for the far right Liberal Democratic Party, was also quoted in Russian publication Life expressing similar views.
"I do not think our fans have done something out of the ordinary, and we need to understand that football fans in 9 out of 10 cases come to the game, to fight, and this is a normal situation," he said.
"Guys defended the honor of the country and did not allow the British in any way defile our homeland. Our fans have to forgive and understand."
UEFA have warned both Russia and England that they face expulsion from the tournament if crowd trouble continues.