The FIFA World Cup is coming to Russia. As the world’s most-watched competition kicks off, questions hang over the safety of travelling fans. Threats of hooliganism, racism and homophobia are at the forefront of officials’ minds as hundreds of thousands of fans from all over world converge on eleven host cities.
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Just three months before the start of the World Cup, the Russian FA was fined for its fans racist chanting during an international match with France. Russian hooliganism has continued unabated within the country’s own football league. Footballers, MPs and many international organisations have warned fans about the threat of homophobia and racism in Russia this summer. But these are problems that have dogged world football for decades – so are the concerns fair? And will organisers be able to keep fans safe in Russia this summer?