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Duma Mulls 7-Year Bans for Football Hooligans

The State Duma will vote Friday on whether to ban convicted hooligans from sports events for up to seven years.

The maximum length of a ban was increased from one to seven years in a change made Monday to the draft of the so-called Fan Law by the Duma's Physical Fitness and Sport Committee. The committee recommended that the bill face its crucial second reading Friday.

The Sports Ministry said the bill was aimed at keeping the 2018 World Cup in Russia safe from hooligans.

The bans would apply to those convicted of an offense at a sports event, with the minimum ban set at six months. It was not immediately clear what penalties could be applied if a banned fan was found at a sports event.

The proposed sanctions are lower than those in Britain, another country with a history of football hooliganism. British football banning orders range from three to 10 years and include a provision to confiscate hooligans' passports when their team plays abroad.

There were more than 14,000 offenses committed at Russian sporting events over the last three years, according to Deputy Sports Minister Natalya Parshikova. Firework-throwing and racist chants are commonplace at Russian football matches, while violence occasionally erupts.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for disruptive supporters to be slapped with life bans from all sports events.

Many Russian football supporters, including Spartak Moscow's vast fan club, are unhappy about a provision in the law that would force anyone buying tickets to a sports event to present ID at the point of sale. This is already set to be implemented voluntarily by the Russian Premier League from next season.

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