Outrage in Russia as female football fans strip-searched by male police


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Ekaterina Stepanova (Twitter: @Superskaya)

There is outrage in Russia after female football supporters were strip-searched by male police officers before a game in the 2018 World Cup host city of Kazan.

One fan Ekaterina Stepanova wrote a blog post about the "humiliation" suffered by her and fellow visiting female fans from Spartak Moscow before their match with local side Rubin Kazan.

Stepanova wrote that before the game: "girls were forced to strip, including the removal of their underwear."

Kazan is in the Republic of Tatarstan, a federal subject of Russia, and there have been growing concerns in recent years about terrorism in the region.

Stepanova was told by police that the searches were necessary as she "could have a bomb on her" but she refused to be searched in such a way.

Stepanova was told to strip after already scanning her ticket into the ground, but after refusing, she was then searched "in the usual way with dirty gloves over my t-shirt and gloves."

At the next security point, she was again told that she had not been properly searched, but refused to be searched any further and eventually got into the stadium.

She said she saw other girls being "undressed completely, including underwear" and her blog post was a call to arms for them to seek justice.

"I encourage all the girls who were forced to undress, violating their constitutional rights by offending their honour and dignity, to apply to the official fan club of Spartak Moscow for legal aid," she said in her blog post.

"The more statements from us, the more likely it is the police will treat us with respect. Do not stay away. This applies to all."

The secretary of the Russian League Alexander Meitin confirmed that the League and Spartak have both complained over the "rough treatment" the female fans received.

Eurosport Russia has told us the story has been "blowing up in Russian society" with many people outraged with the inappropriate treatment of the fans, and the story has hit the front pages of some Russian newspapers.

However, the story is set to rumble on with the President of the Republic of Tararstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, warning that fans can expect similar treatment in the future.

"Minnikhanov said that all the actions taken by police were tough but absolutely legal," Eurosport Russian told us.

"And the next time this situation arises, the Tararstan police will do the same thing."

The next Russian League match in Kazan takes place on August 17th and again involves a team from Moscow with Lokomotiv the visitors.

Kazan is one of 11 cities that were selected as part of Russia's successful bid to host the 2018 World Cup. England, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium also bid to host that tournament.

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