Russian government take hardline approach to Man Utd, Chelsea fans

Russia's minister of sport has promised an unprecedented police presence, a ban on public drinking and the absence of outdoor TV screens to keep order when more than 42,000 Chelsea and Manchester United supporters descend on Moscow for the Champions League final, reports The Guardian.

There will be 6,000 military and police officers on the streets of the Russian capital next Wednesday, when the bulk of fans are expected to arrive, supplemented by a unit of 15 officers from the Metropolitan and Greater Manchester forces who will point out known British hooligans to their Russian counterparts.

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"We want to make our guests comfortable and make sure they are able to enjoy Moscow, but it is also important that the city and its customs are respected," said Vitaly Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union. "The police do not want to bother fans and there will be no problems if respect is shown."

No big screens will be provided in Moscow and any fans who travel without a match ticket, despite pleas from the two clubs involved not to, have been told they will have to watch in bars and cafes.

"Drinking in public areas is not allowed under Russian law but there are plenty of places where consumption can take place," said Alexey Sorokin, head of Russia's Champions League organising committee.

"Moscow is a city of 11 million people and they all manage to drink indoors so we do not expect so many problems with these extra people."

Those drinking outside will be arrested, as will those who participate in antisocial behaviour, which officials say includes the displaying of banners with "provocative comments" and the carrying of objects with "sharp edges".

Fans will be put on one of 700 buses when they land at Moscow's two main airports and transported to supporters' "camps" and on to the Luzhniki Stadium.

Mutko said that anyone who wanted to explore the city before the final, which kicks off at 10.45pm local time, could do so. "As long as you behave, the city is yours."

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