5 things that could go wrong during 2018 FIFA World Cup
With 2018 on the horizon, it won’t be long before the attention of the football world turns away from the Champions League, Premier League, La Liga and onto the World Cup – due to take place in the summer in Russia. The excitement of fans was at a peak, a couple of weeks ago, when the draw for the group stages took place.
The enthusiasm and publicity for the draw proved that international football is far from dead as some would suggest, and indeed, the World Cup is still the pinnacle of the sport for many players and fans alike. But that doesn’t mean that anyone is expecting this upcoming tournament to be perfect. Potential problems have already reared their heads, and it could well be possible that this World Cup ends up being a bust.
Why? Here are five possible reasons.
Hooliganism has been a blight on football for decades now, and despite tremendous efforts to stamp it out, it remains a problem – most heavily in Eastern Europe more than anywhere else. While it was English thugs who had the worst reputation in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, that award now goes to hooligans from the countries who were formerly behind the Iron Curtain.
Look at Euro 2016, for instance – the tournament was held in France, but the fans that caused problems were largely from the eastern side of Europe. We saw issues between Ukrainian and German fans, Albanian and Romanian fans, and even an angry clash during the game between the Czech Republic and Croatia – an incident that saw the game paused as flares were thrown onto the pitch.
The worst behaviour, unfortunately, came from the Russian fans. Their ‘Ultras’ attacked English fans in Marseille prior to, during and after the game between the two countries, and after UEFA threatened to expel both sides from the tournament, English authorities condemned the clashes. The Russian side meanwhile expressed support for their thugs, who were reported to be trained MMA fighters rather than your run-of-the-mill hooligans.
With next year’s World Cup taking place in Russia, can we really expect the tournament to go by without problems involving hooligans? Remember Russia went out at the group stage in Euro 2016 – even if that happens in 2018, their fans will still be at home and ready to fight fans from other countries.