Results of investigation after Lokomotiv appeal

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The Russian Premier Liga conducted a review of Lokomotiv Moscow’s appeal about the disrespectful attitude to their visiting fans at the Zenit match on 2 May in St. Petersburg.

The League has requested all necessary information from the police and the host club. The audit was taken under control by the presidents of the RPL and the RFU.

1. Visiting fans quota

Lokomotiv requested 1,617 tickets, which were allocated by Zenit. To accommodate the spectators, taking into account social distancing, four sectors with a total capacity of more than 4,000 people were reserved. In accordance with the existing requirements, the necessary fences were installed on the sectors.

On 26 April, the St. Petersburg health authorities allowed to increase the capacity of the stadium for the match to 75 percent, but not more than 40 thousand spectators. On 30 April, Lokomotiv asked to increase the guest quota by another 1,600 tickets. However, due to the work carried out to strengthen the sectors, this amount of additional tickets were not allocated. According to the rules, this can only be done at least five days before the start of the match. Zenit found an opportunity to allocate another 100 tickets.

2. Transfer of Lokomotiv fans to visitors’ sectors

This possibility is provided for by the regulations and is aimed at eliminating collisions of fans at matches of increased complexity. This issue was agreed upon by the RPL delegate at the pre-match meeting and did not raise any objections from the clubs' representatives. At the same time, Lokomotiv’s appeal was taken into account, in which the club asked to take additional measures to prevent possible conflicts between fans at the stadium and outside it. In total, no more than 100 people were moved.

3. The closure of the visitors’ sector by the police

According to the operational information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, there were risks of a breakthrough of active Zenit fans in the visitors’ sector, as well as a merging flow of spectators. We also took into account the aggravation of relations between the fans of the clubs, as a result of the attack of Lokomotiv fans on Zenit fans on 30 August 2020. On the day of the match, four active visiting fans were detained for minor hooliganism in the territory adjacent to the stadium. According to the police, during a personal search, they were found to have mouthguards, gas canisters and boxing bandages.

Based on these circumstances, an agreed decision was made to introduce National Guard officers into the stadium, place them along the metal fences under the stands and stop fans from leaving the visitors’ sector shortly before the end of the match.

4. Forced removal of Lokomotiv fans from the stadium by bus

According to the information received from Zenit football club, immediately after the end of the match, the police decided to organise the withdrawal of the remaining visiting fans from the sectors and put them on buses provided by the club. A separate exit was provided for fans with children.

Twelve buses, accompanied by traffic police patrol cars, left for Moscow railway station with an intermediate stop at the Vyborgskaya metro station. During the column’s movement along the Martynov embankment, one of the buses broke down. The fault was fixed within 15 minutes, and the bus continued on its route.

The RPL regrets that as a result of the measures taken by the police, the fans were inconvenienced and their movement was restricted. At the same time, such forced steps were aimed at preventing clashes between fans and ensuring security.

The RPL will recommend that the match organisers take maximum measures to inform the audience about possible restrictions aimed at ensuring safety, and when conducting such events, equally ensure the comfort of the audience. Clubs, in particular Zenit, should pay special attention to creating a benevolent atmosphere in relation to visiting fans.

The results of the review will be submitted to the RFU's Safety and Fan Relations Committee for appropriate recommendations.


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