Arsenal Football Club have urged their fans to take extra care, and to keep up-to-date with the latest political advice when considering visiting Russia for the Europa League clash with CSKA Moscow.
There are broad safety concerns currently amidst our Prime Minister’s accusations towards Vladamir Putin and his Russian comrades, and violence is a distinct possibility in the near future, and this tie couldn’t have come at a worse time in recent history.
We will play host to CSKA on April 5 before travelling to the Soviet Union a week later to complete the tie, and there is the distinct possibility that there could be a number of breakouts from fan groups, and fans of small children should seriously assess their decision to bring their younger ones into that hostile environment.
A statement on Arsenal’s official website read: “Supporters planning to go to our Europa League quarter-final away to CSKA Moscow on Thursday, April 12 should be aware of the following travel advice, from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
“Due to heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time; you’re advised to remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments.
“While the British Embassy in Moscow is not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time, you should follow the security and political situation closely and keep up to date with this travel advice.”
The Arsenal Independent Supporters Association has already issued a statement claiming that they will liaise and do their best to keep all those attending as safe as possible.
“AISA will work with the club to help ensure the safety of those supporters who do plan to travel to Moscow,” AISA chair Lois Langton told Press Association Sport.
“It’s a hot potato of a draw in view of the political stand-off between the UK and Russia at present although no doubt it will inject some hype and tension into this season’s Europa League.
“It probably isn’t going to be the destination of choice for many supporters and the Foreign Office travel advice will need to be listened to.”
Would international tensions affect your decision to travel or not? Would you have expected a hostile environment in Russia regardless of the latest political disagreements?