Their image tainted, Russian football fans fight back

Tomsk (Russia), April 18 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Supporters of second-tier side FC Tom Tomsk are trying to improve the bruised and battered image of Russian football fans by raising the money to pay off fines for misbehaviour.

The Siberian club were ordered to pay 40,000 rubles ($1,255) for the illegal use of flares and other petty hooliganism in a 1-1 draw against local rivals Yenisei Krasnoyarsk earlier this month.

“The supporters club took the decision to pay the fine themselves. The fans managed to collect the money, and … it was transferred to the club,” a statement on Tomsk’s site said.

“We hope that this gesture will help return the title of ‘the most disciplined fans in the country’ to Tomsk supporters,” it added, claiming that the whip-round is unprecedented in the modern game in Russia.

Supporters have come in for biting criticism this season. Frequent clashes with police and illegal pyrotechnic use have prompted federal lawmakers to draft a law that would ban perpetrators from attending sports events.

The so-called Fan Law is currently passing through the lower house of parliament and is expected to enter force later this year.

FC Tom Tomsk were relegated from the Russian Premier League last season, but are primed to regain top-flight status as they currently sit in the second of two automatic promotion slots with eight games left.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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