Britain has banned more than 1,300 known “hooligans” from traveling to Russia for the World Cup finals, demanding they surrender their passports, the government said on Wednesday. Officials ordered the “troublemakers with a history of football-related disorder,” all of whom had been issued with football banning orders, to hand in their passports to police last week, the Home Office said.
Police said it had received 1,254 of the passports by Wednesday and planned to pursue the remaining 58, holding the documents until the tournament ends on July 15. “The World Cup is a festival of football and is no place for violence or disorder,” said Nick Hurd, a minister responsible for policing. “The UK’s system of football banning orders is unique and means that people intent on causing trouble in Russia will instead be staying at home,” Hurd said.
He thanked the police for ensuring that “these thugs won’t be able to ruin the tournament for real fans.” The governor said some 10,000 fans are expected to travel from Britain to Russia for the World Cup. England is the only team from the UK to qualify for the finals where they meet Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.