Russian PM Medvedev talks tough on hooligans

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Associated Press

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 8:04 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — In a desperate attempt to curb soccer violence in Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is calling for the most notorious hooligans to be banned from matches for life.

A Russian league game between Dynamo Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg was called off last week when the Dynamo goalkeeper was injured after a firecracker was thrown from the Zenit stands.

Dynamo was given a 3-0 win.

In the wake of disturbances at the Dynamo-Zenit game, the Russian government has drafted a bill to introduce harsh penalties for misbehaving fans, such as temporary suspensions. On Monday, Medvedev urged the government to go further and introduce lifetime bans.

Medvedev said punishment ought to be "extremely harsh against those who come to the stadium to misbehave rather than watch the match."

Russia is due to host a handful of international sports events in the coming years, including the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 World Cup.

Medvedev said that security for fans and athletes is a "priority" for Russia.

Violence at soccer matches as well as hooliganism off the field has been a problem in Russia for years.

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