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World Cup in Russia is too dangerous for me: Alan Green

By Staff Reporter

Published 14/06/2016

Football boycott: Alan Green
Football boycott: Alan Green

Northern Irish commentator Alan Green will boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia after deciding the trip is too much of a safety risk.

The 63-year-old Radio 5 Live presenter from Belfast confirmed that he made his intention to skip the tournament clear to the station's controller Jonathan Wall "a few months ago", with the violent clashes witnessed in Marseille between England and Russia at Euro 2016 justifying Green's decision.

Russian fans charged at England supporters inside the Stade Velodrome towards the end of the 1-1 on Saturday after breaking through the inadequate barrier separating the two sections.

The alarming scenes came after three days of clashes in the old port area in Marseille, and on Saturday 19 English fans were admitted to hospital after they were attacked by an organised Russian gang that were equipped with gum shields and mixed martial arts gloves in order to attack both England supporters and French locals.

Green has not missed a major tournament in more than 30 years, having covered 16 European Championships and World Cups during his career, but he has decided that the next tournament is simply too dangerous to attend as it takes place in Russia, a European hot-bed of fan violence and hooliganism.

"I sat down with the controller of 5 Live a few months ago to discuss a new contract and I think he was taken aback when I said, 'Look, under no circumstances do I want to do the World Cup in Russia in two years' time. Absolutely no question of me going there'.

"I've been there enough - the first trip to Moscow was fantastic - Red Square, Lenin's Tomb, St Basil's Cathedral, I did the lot in four days. But I already experienced a climate that I did not wish to venture into again. Unfortunately, I was back twice in six months. Now that's over 20 years ago, and I've had experiences since."

Green reveals that his mind was made up on the day that Fifa confirmed Russia as World Cup hosts five-and-a-half years ago, given his past experiences.

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