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UK police chief to fans: Don't take flags to Russia World Cup

Staff Writer |
England football fans should not display the "almost imperialistic" St George flag during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, police have warned.

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Supporters should respect Russian national pride during matches in places like Volgograd where England are to play Tunisia on 18 June, national lead of football policing Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said.

"We wouldn’t expect people to come across to this country, get drunk and drape flags on the Cenotaph so we need to extend the same courtesy when we go abroad and treat places with due reverence.

"People need to be really careful with flags. It can come across as almost imperialistic ," the Independent cited him as saying.

"We really urge some caution about people putting flags out and waving them about in public," he added.

"We’ve seen previously English supporters go to Spain and sing about Gibraltar, go to Dortmund and sing songs about the world war. I cannot emphasise how stupid that would be to do in Russia."

"The key thing is those supporters who might drink too much, engage in anti-social behaviour – that would really be my concern for this tournament, that that might not be well-received locally and provoke a hostile response.

"Supporters need to act with respect, they need to be good guests, seek to make friends and not engage in anything that’s antagonistic in its nature and which may provoke what they consider to be a disproportionate response but would actually put themselves at real risk," Roberts stressed.

The 2018 World Cup finals will be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15.

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