RUSSIA’S parliament has backed harsher punishments for football hooliganism, including a seven-year ban for blacklisted fans, in a bid to combat violence at stadiums ahead of its hosting of the 2018 World Cup.
The draft legislation still needs a third reading before passing to the Federation Council upper house and then being signed by President Vladimir Putin.
The bill calls for the interior ministry and the sports federations to work together to draw up black lists of troublemaker fans, using security camera footage.
Fans who cause trouble can be banned from stadiums for up to three years, while those who cause a match to be abandoned can be banned for up to seven years.
Those who breach stadium bans could pay up to 25,000 rubles ($A830) in fines or spend 15 days in police cells.
Currently the maximum fine for fans who cause a match to be stopped is just 2,000 rubles and the top penalty for fans who commit a less serious offence is 1,000 rubles.
Ruling party parliamentarian and tennis player Marat Safin backed the stricter measures, telling Business FM radio that they were needed “so that the law works. Otherwise nothing stops anyone. If you don’t respect people, then respect the law.”
Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russian Railways which is the main sponsor of the Lokomotiv Moscow football club, told the RIA Novosti news agency that swearing and insulting footballers were “absolutely unacceptable.