This segment originally aired Feb. 7, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
Soccer is known worldwide for its passionate fans, and every soccer-mad country has its hooligans who get sloppy and start brawls. But in Russia, these hooligans are trained, organized, and brutally violent.
These organized gangs of hooligans, referred to as “firms,” are becoming more prominent around the country. At the European Soccer Championship last summer, violent clashes in Marseilles showcased the professional fighting prowess of Russian hooligans.
Russia hosting the World Cup in 2018 has put pressure on law enforcement to crack down on the “firms,” who put close to 30 England supporters in the hospital after the 2016 Euro Cup.
VICE News correspondent Ben Makuch reports from Russia ,where he meets with some career hooligans. Despite having the support of some people in the government, the gangs anticipate significant disruption to their activities in the coming months.