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17 May, 2008 02:00

Moscow police steel themselves for Champions League final

When Moscow hosts football's Champions League final on Wednesday some 40,000 English fans are expected in the Russian capital to watch Chelsea and Manchester United. It's the first ever all-English final and police are practising security drills to maint

When it comes to security nothing is being left to chance for the match on May 21. Six thousand police and soldiers, including mounted police officers, will be on duty inside Luzhniki stadium for the final.

With this in mind, finding a common language is also crucial. Police officers will have English translators in all the important places, around the stadium, in the Metro and in Red Square.

Although English fans are notorious for street violence and clashes with police, Moscow officers do not seem to be overconcerned.

“I've seen how the British fans behave in the grounds. They are like kids compared to the Russian fans. There are sometimes problems in the streets, but I'm sure we'll manage it,” says police unit commander Pyotr Soprikin.

Russia-UK relations may not have been at their best lately, but when it comes to the all-English Champions League final, the two are standing side by side in the name of sport. British colleagues from the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester police force are coming to help their Russian counterparts.

In another development, Red Square in central Moscow has been turned into a 'camp for football'.  It includes a pavilion where fans can be photographed beside the European Cup.  There's a also a mini football pitch with an artificial surface for impromptu games. The camp also boasts a UEFA-organised museum, which includes the histories of both Chelsea and Manchester United.