Ever since Russia was announced as the host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there have been fears about safety and security for soccer fans in the country. Russian fans have a negative image in Europe, an image that deteriorated even further after mass brawls in Marseille during Euro 2016. England fans accused Russian hooligans of acting with “military organization” and they were equipped with gumshields and telescopic truncheons during the violence.
Given that ghastly experience, it comes as little surprise that people in the United Kingdom are pessimistic about safety at the tournament. A recent Ipsos poll asked respondents in different countries whether they strongly or somewhat agree the tournament in Russia will be safe for visitors. Only 34 percent of UK respondents agreed, the lowest level recorded in the poll. People in China and India (two countries that did not reach Russia) are most upbeat with over 80 percent agreeing the tournament will be safe. In Germany, 67 percent agree it will be safe, along with 59 percent in France.