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Police Deny Officer Wore Nazi SS Helmet

A picture posted by the Yaroslavl Police Department showing the way their helmets are labelled. Yaroslavl Police Department

Russian police have denied that one of their officers wore a helmet featuring the logo of the Nazi SS to oversee a match where fans displayed a swastika flag.

Spartak Moscow's 1-0 Russian Cup win over Shinnik Yaroslavl last month was marred by crowd violence and the display of the swastika flag, resulting in stadium bans for both teams.

In recent days, photographs showing a policeman wearing a helmet apparently labeled with the logo of the SS has gone viral on Russian-language sports websites, but police said Monday that the logo was just the number 44.

"We found that helmet. It's all a lot simpler, the number 44 is written on it. That's the sort of handwriting the person who wrote on it had," the police department for the city of Yaroslavl wrote on its official Twitter account.

The police department displayed a photograph of what it said was the helmet in question alongside others bearing the numbers 41 and 42. On all of them, the number 4 was written in a way that bore a passing resemblance to the thunderbolt-style font used in the SS logo.

The swastika flag is one of a string of racist incidents to hit Eastern European football in recent weeks, following CSKA Moscow's partial stadium ban for "racist behavior" by their fans in a Champions League game.

Last week, Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk condemned individuals who posed in Ku Klux Klan uniforms in front of a team bus. The culprits were not Shakhtar fans, the team said.

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