Anzhi Makhachkala are unlikely to play their European games at Moscow’s Lokomotiv arena after their latest Europa League match was marred by provocations from the local fans and clashes after the final whistles.
"Anzhi want to play in Makhachkala,” Fedor Smolov, Anzhi’s striker, told Sovetsky Sport. “But it’s not our call. UEFA didn’t allow the city to host matches [due to security concerns], so we have to play in Moscow where the team is based at the moment. Now, I don’t think that any of Anzhi’s players and fans would agree to play at Lokomotiv.”
Some of the Lokomotiv fans were outraged by their club’s decision to provide the stadium to Anzhi for their Europa League qualifying round match against Dutch side, AZ.
Many of them, as well as Zenit supporters, who came especially from St. Petersburg, were in the stadium for the Thursday’s clash.
They shouted against the Makhachkala side and threw fireworks on the pitch, putting Anzhi at risk of sanctions from European football’s governing body, as it was their proxy home ground.
“It all depends on education,” Smolov added. “If a person lacks culture, he acts accordingly. The provocations were staged by some low-lifes, who only know how to drink beer and swear in front of women and children. Is there a way to deal with them? There is a European example where people are banned from visiting the games team for one, two or three years.”
Around 80 hooligans were detained in the stadium, but clashes between the fans were reported in different parts of Moscow after the game.
Earlier on Wednesday, a group of Dagestan natives were attacked by a mob of 50 Zenit supporters at an outdoor porch of a McDonald’s restaurant in St. Petersburg.
Two people ended up in hospital, while seven were arrested as a result of the incident.
That’s how the Zenit supporters avenged an assault on two of their comrades, who were tased and severely beaten up by masked men at the stadium in Makhachkala on August 20.
The Russian Football Union’s honorary president and former FIFA vice-president, Vyacheslav Koloskov, has confirmed that the situation with fans is very difficult and continues to increase.
“We’ve missed the time when it was possible to operate with traditional methods on the club level: convince someone and explain that such things are bad with the assistance of law enforcement officers. Now the police are receiving some serious signals,” he said.
“The phenomenon can’t be simply fixed by detaining several people anymore,” Koloskov added. “The phenomenon must be fought with comprehensively and systematically. And the efforts of clubs and federations won’t be enough. The serious involvement of all law enforcement agencies in required, not just the police.”