‘World War Three-peat’: UK tabloid re-uses clip of festival-goers to threaten World Cup violence

‘World War Three-peat’: UK tabloid re-uses clip of festival-goers to threaten World Cup violence
UK tabloid the Daily Star has used a video from the Russian pancake festival ‘Maslenitsa’ and labelled its participants as “hooligans” engaging in organized violent free-for-alls.

The video, titled “Russian hooligans take part in brutal street fight,” was included as part of the article “England hooligan firms’ hardcore uniting to wipe the floor with Russian Ultras.”

The piece, published on Monday, tells the story of hardcore British hooligans groups that are threatening to join forces and challenge home thugs at the World Cup.

READ MORE: FIFA finds ‘insufficient evidence’ of doping by Russia’s World Cup 2018 squad

In fact, the activity shown in the video is a traditional sparring session between men at the traditional Russian pancake festival, celebrated during the last week before Lent.

It is the second time a British tabloid has used the video in a story about football violence. The Star’s fellow redtop, the Daily Mirror, used the exact same video in March 2017 as part of a “shock investigation” into Russian football hooliganism.

This time, the video was accompanied by snaps of the fan chaos at Euro 2016, which featured ugly scenes between Russia and England yobs.

One of the photos merges a scene of disorder in France with a picture of Manchester United fans lighting a flare before a game with rivals Manchester City at the Etihad.

The threats of violence come in an interview with a member of British hooligan group 'Smoggies Elite,' who remained nameless as he told the newspaper “a tightly-knit group of firms had come together to give the Russians hell.”

He continued: “If people think this is one big joke and that we’re going to play a football game and have a drink and a fag [cigarette] and a chat – that’ll never happen.

There’s Geordie blokes [men from Newcastle] who are 50 or 60-years-old, they’re going crazy. They can’t wait for the World Cup. This is going to be like World War Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven.

“It’s funny because they think they intimidate us with their little scraps in the woods. They really have no idea what’s coming to them. They all use weapons – iron bars, knives, bats – we only need our fists.”

The anonymous hooligan source promised violent mobs of fans from around Britain, including Manchester, London, Glasgow and the North East would join forces for “payback.”

Russian State Duma official Mikhail Degtyarev assured journalists on Tuesday that the government will indiscriminately punish any troublemakers during the tournament, ranging from “fines and administrative arrest to deportation.”

“Organisers, volunteers, and even locals will go out of their way in order to create for fans of all nations an atmosphere of hospitableness, togetherness and love for football.

"We will punish hooligans, no matter where they are from Russia or England,” he said.

The Russia 2018 World Cup kicks off on June 14, when Russia take on Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium. The tournament will be held in 12 host stadiums across 11 host Russia cities, and it will run until the final on July 15.