Argentina on Friday said it had asked Russia to detain and deport four of its soccer fans filmed fighting with supporters from Croatia on Thursday.
Russia and FIFA have promised to hold a safe and welcoming World Cup, despite concerns that the tournament could be marred by hooliganism and fan violence.
All violent incidents reported so far have been relatively minor, but a video filmed during Thursday’s emotionally charged match between Argentina and Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod showed a group of men fighting in the stands.
Photo: Nicolas Trotta via Reuters
Seven Argentines had been detained by police after the match, Russia’s World Cup organizing committee said.
The Argentine Ministry of Security said in a statement that it had identified four Argentine fans in the video and it would now “ask Russian authorities to immediately detain them so they can be deported.”
“The matter is now with the judicial authorities to judge the matter in line with the governing laws,” a spokesman for the Russia organizing committee said.
The video, filmed during the match and widely circulated on social media, shows men in Argentina and Croatia team colors kicking and punching each other as onlookers try to break up the fight.
One Croatian supporter is punched and hit repeatedly while lying on the floor and then kicked in the head.
FIFA on Friday said it was working with authorities to identify the people in the video.
“We are absolutely shocked by the images in question. FIFA firmly condemns the behavior of these so-called fans,” a spokesman said. “FIFA is cooperating with the relevant security authorities and will do its utmost to contribute to identifying the individuals involved in these criminal acts in order to ensure that they are punished accordingly.”
The Croatian Football Federation said it was working to get information about the Croatian fan in the video.
“The Croatian Football Federation is shocked by the video showing an incident at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium,” a spokesman said. “We always strongly condemn and oppose any sort of fan violence, physical or verbal, and we are obviously very saddened to see a Croatian fan suffering in this video.