The fallout from the violent clashes among football fans in Marseilles is ongoing. And a major figure in Russian supporter culture is among those bearing the consequences.
Alexander Shprygin is the head of the Union of Russian Fans, the official supporters group for the Russian national football team. He was one of 43 fans detained by French police following riots and mass brawls between English and Russian fans in Marseilles last weekend. About half of them were later released, while the other half were taken to a border control facility and told they were being deported.
A statement released by the URF expressed disbelief at the deportations and a perceived lack of due process.
“France’s authorities said they have taken this decision due to security considerations as they see a potential threat in these people. No other reasons have been provided.”
UEFA had previously been alerted to Shprygin’s affiliations with far-right politics and reportedly racist views, according to a report published by The Guardian this week. According to their sources, Shprygin is considered a leader among Russia’s right-wing ultra groups, who themselves have ties to like-minded politicians and nationalist politics. He had previously been quoted as saying only those with “Slavic faces” should play for Russia and maligned the racial diversity of France’s squad.
For his part, Shprygin says he plans to fight the decision.
“We will probably see our consul tomorrow. We will challenge this decision. It is an absolutely absurd award. We can challenge it within two days. We will ask for a lawyer. I was involved in no clashes or anything of the kind.”
The deportation could be finalized as soon as tomorrow.