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State Duma Passes Bill to Tackle Hooliganism

The State Duma on Tuesday gave its final approval for legislation to increase security at sports events and toughen punishments for rowdy fans.

Anyone convicted of "hooliganism" at a sports event would be punished with a maximum seven-year ban as well as a 15,000 ruble ($450) fine, according to the bill, which garnered the support of 302 lawmakers.

Russia is set to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 FIFA World Cup football championship, and state officials have called for increased measures to prevent disorder at the international events.

Over the last three years, more than 14,000 offenses have been committed at athletic events in Russia, said Deputy Sports Minister Natalya Parshikova. Firework-throwing and racist chants are commonplace at Russian football matches, where violence occasionally erupts.

To become law, the so-called "fans bill" also needs to be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed by the president.

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