Russian fans have called for the country’s football authorities to punish teams whose fans wave the Chechen separatist flag at games.
The Russian Football Union regularly fines clubs for racist incidents or “offensive” chants or banners in the stands, and now the All-Russian Fans Union wants the rules to cover those flying the separatist flag.
The self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria fought two wars with Russian government forces, and some Chechen rebels are still fighting a guerrilla insurgency.
“We think that if the Russian Football Union’s disciplinary board regularly fines clubs for cases of hooliganism, racism and displaying banned symbols, then why should people displaying the flag of Ichkeria, as used by … terrorists and separatists, get away with it,” the fans’ union said in a statement.
The fans’ union posted photographs appearing to show the flag being flown by Anzhi fans at Russian Premier League games.
Anzhi has been fined over $14,000 by the Russian Football Union for incidents involving “offensive expressions” by fans in their last 11 games, but it is not known whether any of these events involved the separatist flag.
There has long been tension between fans from Caucasus-based clubs such as Chechnya-based Terek Grozny and Dagestan-based Anzhi, and those from other parts of Russia.
Fans of other Russian clubs have been known to display fascist symbols at matches.