'Narrative of 'Russia's bad' goes beyond parody'

Alan Moore
Alan Moore, a specialist in sports governance and nutrition, is based in Moscow and consults in and reports on sports. He has been involved in professional sports, including playing soccer and boxing, for over 25 years.
'Narrative of 'Russia's bad' goes beyond parody'
Bias in the Western media over the perceived threat of Russian football hooliganism has two reasons: their countries lost the right to the 2018 World Cup and, also, it suits a geopolitical narrative that ‘Russia’s bad,’ says sports columnist & radio host, Alan Moore.

The UK's Sun newspaper published an online video with the headline "racism in Russia,” showing images of fans of Ukrainian football team Dynamo Kiev wearing white masks and staging a racist rally against rival team Shakhtar Donetsk. The caption was corrected several hours later.

RT:  How do errors like this occur at major British news outlets like The Sun? How can Ukrainian fans be confused for Russian fans?

Alan Moore: I think for some people in the British media it’s like ‘everyone is the same over here.' These errors do occur, and it just shows that there is a lack of professionalism within the people who are doing this reporting. It also could be kind of plans to try and load more nonsense onto the situation as it is.

RT:  What type of reaction would you expect or hope to see from The Sun now?

AM: Either or. Either they’ll just ignore it and say: “Ah, we made a mistake.” But they won’t admit to it, or just let it slide, or try to change the most they can online without making any apology. Or they’ll do, what they had to do one week ago, when the columnist Kelvin MacKenzie called an Everton player Ross Barkley, who was of Nigerian descent, called him a gorilla. This is only less than one week ago – six days ago, they had to print this retraction. They could do that, but I doubt it, I think they just let slide it, that everybody would forget about it.

RT:  It seems Western media outlets are focusing quite heavily on the perceived threat of Russian hooliganism. Why is this and will this continue?

AM: This all started in 2010 when Russia won the right to host the Confederations Cup in 2017 and the World Cup next year. We’re coming up close now to the Confederations Cup, 50 days are remaining before the kickoff. It’s a huge global event. Next year will be the biggest sporting event – in many, years it will be the biggest World Cup ever – there will be an amazing competition. So why are they doing this? Because they lost, they lost the right to host. So they’ve been showing a lot of kind of nastiness with Russia because of that. Geopolitically it suits the entire narrative: “Russia’s bad.” Like [there were] doping [accusations] last year, which was based on facts, based in reality - there are problems. And again with hooligans here – there are problems. However, it’s so biased and so mealy-mound that it has now gone beyond parody.

RT:  Are we going to see violence when international fans come to Russia as the Western media is suggesting? Is there going to be a massive revolution on the pitch?

AM: On the pitch, I think the Russian nationality won’t be showing too much of a revolution. I’d love if they would. Off the pitch and around the stadium… The Russian police are working very closely with the British police. They are showing how to manage hooligans… which is a problem worldwide. The Russian authorities will be very, very strict. There will be no violence; they will keep it very, very under control.

I’m working with one project called: “We are Russia,” which is getting past all that. That is looking at home, here in Russia, that there should be no discrimination, no racism, anywhere in Russian football. Forget the World Cup, because this is greater than that. What we’re doing - and Alexey Smirnov and Roman Shirokov, all these people are working together, ex-international players, superstars. They are putting together projects with the Russian Footballers Union to say: Look, enough is enough, leave your prejudice, leave your stupidity at home, come to the stadium, enjoy football, make it a family atmosphere. Make not just the confederation cup and word cup festivals as football, but every time we’re going to the stadium in Russia, we should be a shining example of how football should be done right.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.