September 24, 2016 / 12:46 PM / 3 years ago

Russian fans group leader Shprygin arrested in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The president of the All-Russian Supporters Association (ARSA) Alexander Shprygin was arrested in Moscow on Saturday during the Russian Football Union’s (RFU) conference where Vitaly Mutko was elected the organisation’s president.

“The head of the ARSA Alexander Shprygin was detained at the RFU conference in Moscow. A search is taking place at the ARSA office. There will be no further comments at the moment,” the ARSA said on its Twitter feed.

The 39-year-old Shprygin was arrested in the lobby of the Holiday Inn hotel a few minutes before the results of the elections were confirmed.

The delegates at the conference later decided to exclude the ARSA, which was founded in 2007, from the RFU.

“The arrest of Shprygin and the exclusion of the ARSA from its RFU membership are not connected,” Mutko told reporters. “It looks like work is continuing in connection with the events that unfolded in France.”

Russian media reported that Shprygin was arrested due to his suspected extremist links.

“I want to add that this organisation (ARSA) discredited itself,” Mutko added. “Almost all of its leadership have had problems with the law enforcement agencies. I think that the ARSA got Russian football into serious trouble.”

On June 14, 20 Russian fans, including Shprygin, were detained by police during Euro 2016 for taking part in violent scenes before their team’s group game against England in Marseille, France. Most were deported home to Russia.

After being deported once, Shprygin returned to France for Russia’s final group match against Wales. He was again asked to leave the country.

Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy, editing by Ed Osmond

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