MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian lawmaker has proposed an unorthodox solution to the country's football hooliganism woes ahead of next year's World Cup — legalize it and turn it into a spectator sport.
Organized groups of Russian fans, many with martial arts training, fought English fans on the streets of Marseille during last year's European Championship.
That inspired Igor Lebedev, who sits in the Russian parliament, to draw up rules for what he calls "draka," the Russian word for "fight" — 20 fighters on each side, unarmed, in an arena.
In a statement on the website of the nationalist LDPR party, Lebedev says organized brawls "could turn fans' aggression in a peaceful direction." He also claimed it would serve as an "example" for English fans, who he characterized as undisciplined louts and poor fighters.