Moscow prepares to welcome British football fans. To avoid possible clashes the supporters of Chelsea and Manchester United will be arriving at Moscow’s different airports.
About 42,000 British citizens are expected to come to Moscow to attend the Champions League final on Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium. The original number of British guests in Moscow was larger, but many of them decided to cancel their plans to visit Moscow due to high prices on tickets, hotels and servicing. In addition, some tickets to the game were sold at about 2,500 euros per ticket.
Photos: Chelsea and Manchester United footballers coming to Moscow
Most of the British fans will arrive in Moscow from Manchester. It is worthy of note that Manchester United fans are known for their aggressive behavior.
Senior police officers from England traveled to Moscow on Monday to help prevent hooliganism from marring the Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, the AP reports.
Violence broke out in Manchester last week at the UEFA Cup final between Rangers and Zenit St. Petersburg, with hundreds of Scottish fans going on the rampage following the Russian side's 2-0 victory. Eighteen British officers - from London's Metropolitan Police, the Manchester force and the soccer policing unit - will link up with their Russian counterparts.
As Manchester United flew out Monday for Wednesday's match, plain-clothed intelligence officers were stationed at Manchester Airport to target known or potential troublemakers from heading to the Russian capital. A similar operation was in place at London's Heathrow Airport
Banning orders imposed on fans with soccer-related convictions will be rigorously enforced in the next two days to prevent them from flying to Moscow. Britain's Home Office said 3,100 soccer supporters are banned from attending matches abroad, including 86 Red Devils fans and 74 Chelsea fans.
"As with all operations like this, we are sending out a clear message to people intending to travel to commit violence to think again," said police chief inspector Robert Tinsley, who is based at the airport.
The airport is expecting 20,000 more passengers than usual to be flying to Moscow.
Moscow will change its usual lifestyle for four days for the sake of British fans. Authorities will divide the city into several security zones, shut traffic down on landmark streets and change the work schedule of the Moscow metro. Many Muscovites say that it is not going to be a football game but a disaster.
Manchester United fans arrive in Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, whereas their opponents, Chelsea fans, will land at Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports. Each of the three airports will be accepting up to 20 special flights from England a day on May 20-21.
Special buses will be provided for disabled British fans arriving for the Champions League final.
Security services of Moscow will be working in emergency regime on May 20-24. City officials apparently equated the British fans with an earthquake or a massive flood.
Officials spokespeople for Russia’Aeroflot said that all the flights from Great Britain to Russia and back would be conducted strictly according to the schedule. Aeroflot has taken all necessary measures to guarantee safe flights.
The Champions League final will take place on Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on May 21. The game will start at 10:45 p.m. (Moscow time).
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