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Exclusive: Blacklisted Fan Bypasses Russia’s World Cup Security System

By Reuters

MOSCOW — A soccer fan blacklisted by Russian authorities for bad behavior was granted a document allowing him to attend World Cup matches, while several other fans have skirted a stadium ban, Reuters has found.

Russia has vowed to crack down on crowd unrest ahead of the World Cup, to be held from June 14 to July 15, and to weed out troublemakers by screening fans.

However, documents seen by Reuters show that Pavel Cherkas, a 32-year-old fan who was blacklisted last year for being drunk at a match, applied for and received a World Cup fan ID after the ban had taken effect.

Cherkas, who has attended matches despite being banned by the Interior Ministry, showed Reuters his World Cup fan ID, a document that is mandatory to attend matches and proves he has been approved by Russian authorities.

After Reuters asked the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, which oversees the fan ID program, how a blacklisted fan was cleared to attend the World Cup, Cherkas was informed his ID had been revoked, without explanation.

The ministry said a fan ID can be canceled to ensure security or public order, or if it receives information about violations by spectators at events in or outside Russia.

Russia has pledged to curb stadium violence at the World Cup, hoping to expunge memories of brawls between Russian and English fans in Marseille during the 2016 European championship.

Fans say authorities have cracked down on hooligans in recent years and violence is less prevalent. But Russia still wants to show it is taking action and has launched a fan blacklist, which contains more than 400 names, although few violent cases.

However, Reuters has found that the authorities have not been systematically enforcing the list.

“I’m not saying the government is wrong in banning fans,” said Cherkas, smoking at a picnic table in central Moscow.

“But if they do, they should do so effectively.”

Reuters did not find other cases of blacklisted fans obtaining World Cup fan IDs and could not establish how widespread the problem was. Another blacklisted fan said his ID application had been rejected.

The dates on Cherkas’ ban were amended this month in what the interior ministry told him was a mix-up with another fan. His ban, which was to expire during the World Cup, is now listed as lasting until May 21. It remains unclear whether he will be granted another fan ID to attend two World Cup matches taking place on dates covered by his initial ban.

Nine blacklisted fans, including Cherkas, said they had regularly skirted the ban. Reuters reporters saw one of them at a match last month, while others provided photographic evidence of themselves attending sporting events while banned.

FIFA and the World Cup local organizing committee referred questions about how a blacklisted person could obtain a fan ID to the communications ministry, which said the document was issued at the discretion of federal security authorities.


Two Reuters reporters witnessed a blacklisted fan enter Moscow’s Spartak Stadium, a World Cup venue, for a Russian Cup match last month. With a ticket bearing his name in hand, the fan, a man in his mid-20s wearing red Air Jordan running shoes and a black beanie, made his way into the venue unobstructed.

The reporters remained with the fan, banned from attending sporting events last year for having lit a flare at a Russian Premier League match, throughout the match and left the stadium at the same time. He was not approached by stadium or security officials, nor was the name on his ticket checked.

At the stadium, he flipped through pictures on his iPhone of sporting events he had attended while banned, including Russian Premier League matches, an international soccer friendly, and a match at the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Reuters was able to contact 117 people on the blacklist, which contained 423 names as of March 20. Thirty-two agreed to speak, all but one under condition of anonymity.

Although the authorities have not been rigorously enforcing the list, they have taken some steps against hooliganism.

Police visit some fans known to authorities even though they are not officially banned. Some have been asked to promise not to disrupt the World Cup.

“I pledge not to organize or take part in fights, illegal actions and mass riots at sports facilities or on the territory of the Moscow region,” a form handed by police to one fan read.

But the blacklisted fans are not Russia’s most violent.

More than a third were included for lighting flares, smoke bombs or firecrackers or attempting to do so. Another 20 percent were banned for public drunkenness. One was blacklisted for kicking another fan.


Loopholes in the blacklist law make it hard to enforce.

Although meant to keep problematic fans out of stadiums, the law does not outline the events where identification is mandatory or where ticket holders must be checked against the blacklist. In any case, few events require identification.

“Many people were preventively included on the blacklist ahead of the World Cup for one reason or another. The authorities probably fear provocations,” said one fan, banned for tossing a flare at a Moscow stadium.

“At the police station, we were told there was an order to come up with a percentage of blacklisted fans.”

The Interior Ministry did not respond when asked whether it had ordered a certain number of fans to be banned or whether it knew that some blacklisted fans regularly attended matches.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Maxim Rodionov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Pranksters sneak into Kendrick Lamar concert disguised as clean-up crew

ByRebecca Atkins

Updated: May 17, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some might call it the perfect crime, while others might say it was just plain stupid. Two local college students disguised as the “clean up crew” snuck into the Kendrick Lamar concert Tuesday night with ease.

They documented the whole thing on social media as they dressed up like members of the “clean up crew,” wearing orange vests and toting giant trashcans they got at Wal-Mart.

“We are doing the employee parking they said,” said the girl in the video.

Then, they were let right in through the employee entrance. The guy and girl then headed to a Porta-Potty to take off their disguises.

“Don’t know what to do with this,” said the girl about her uniform.

Once they ditched the clothes, they then enjoyed the show, blending in among the sea of paying concertgoers.

While some people have commended their actions, not everyone is a fan of what they did.

“It’s a form of theft, you’re stealing from the artist, you’re stealing from the venue and it’s unacceptable,” said Kymberlee Boetcher.

She works at the Isleta Amphitheater and said it also presents concerns about safety.

“After all the incidents, like the Ariana Grande concert and stuff like that, there’s a lot of security concerns,” she said.

And clearly, these two had no trouble walking in like they worked there.

“I’m gonna give their names to my boss… I hope they get in trouble,” she said.

KRQE News 13 reached out to Live Nation, which hosts events at the venue. Live Nation is aware of the incident, but have yet to comment on the matter or the safety concerns it raises.

1 injured, 1 dead in shooting at Ballpark Village near Busch Stadium in St. Louis

1 injured, 1 dead in shooting at Ballpark Village near Busch Stadium in St. Louis

Ryan Young,Yahoo Sports, 4/30/18

Two people were shot during an event at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis, right across from Busch Stadium, on Sunday night, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

One of the victims was shot in the head and was unresponsive, and the other was shot in the thigh. Both were taken to the hospital. Early Monday morning, police told local St. Louis news station KSDK that one of the victims had died from their injuries. The shooter escaped from police, and is still on the loose, according to the Post-Dispatch.

From the Post-Dispatch:

St. Louis police Maj. Mary Warnecke said several hundred people were at a ticketed event on the rooftop level of the Budweiser Brew House when an argument broke out about 8 p.m. Someone pulled a gun and fired. She said it’s believed the people struck were innocent bystanders. Both are men in their 30s.

Ballpark Village sits just across the street from Busch Stadium, and is an integral part of every St. Louis Cardinals home game. The Cardinals played a day game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Sunday. They will play next at home on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.

“We are shocked and saddened by the senseless shooting at a private event at Ballpark Village Sunday night,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our guests. We are praying for the victims and their families and we are working in every way possible to help the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department with their investigation, including their effort to apprehend the individual responsible. We are grateful that our security staff and the St. Louis Police Officers on site were able to respond so quickly to help care for the victims. We are urging anyone with information about what took place to contact the St. Louis Police Department or Crime Stoppers.”

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