Man United and Liverpool fans warned to behave in Russia or 'face prison in conditions they will not like'
Manchester United and Liverpool supporters heading to Moscow for this week’s Champions League fixtures have been warned of harsh penalties should crowd trouble erupt in the Russian capital.
The head of the Russian Football Union's security committee, Vladimir Markin, suggested English fans will face extended prison sentences in ‘conditions they will not like’ if problems arise when United and Liverpool face CSKA and Spartak Moscow, respectively.
A little under 2,000 fans are expected from Liverpool and Manchester, Uefa seeing no reason to keep the north-west rivals apart as they head to the same city.
Both Spartak and CSKA have come under scrutiny for their own recent problems with hooligan elements, but the authorities turned the focus on the travelling fans.
"I don't want to scare anyone but I warn those who plan to come here not to support their side and see the country but to commit hooliganism: the law is the same for all, not just for Russians," Markin told TASS state news agency.
"Those who break it will face a suitable punishment, possibly in the form of a long stay in Russia, in conditions our guests won't like."
English and Russian fans clashed in France during the 2016 European Championships, and the authorities in Moscow can ill afford any security issues ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
Liverpool and United have engaged with travelling supporters in an attempt to secure their safety, advising not to wear club colours or travel alone as there are fears they will be targeted.
Tighter controls will be in place for the games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a visible police presence was in place when the Liverpool party arrived in Moscow on Monday afternoon.
Last week, Spartak were fined €60,000 by Uefa after their fans were guilty of firing a flare at the match referee against Slovenian side Maribor.