July 3, 2018 / 9:56 PM / 5 months ago

Moscow police detain vandal after word 'England' painted on statue

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow police said on Tuesday they had detained a person who vandalised a statue of a renowned Soviet soccer player outside the Spartak stadium, where England were playing Colombia in a Round of 16 match.

The word “England” was painted in red on to the chest of a statue of Fyodor Cherenkov, a former Soviet national team player and Spartak Moscow midfielder who died in 2014, according to pictures that emerged on social media during the match.

Police said in a statement they “had identified and detained” the person who had vandalised the statue, which is located near the stadium’s main entrance.

Former Spartak players and members of the club’s youth academy periodically lay flowers by Cherenkov’s statue, honouring one of the team’s most beloved former players.

The police statement did not disclose the vandal’s identity, nor did it say whether he or she was a British national.

A Reuters photographer at the scene shortly after the incident said that the inscription had been washed off.

The British embassy in Moscow could not immediately be reached for comment. The British Foreign Office said it was looking into the case.

England beat Colombia 4-3 on penalty kicks and will face Sweden in the quarter-finals in Samara on Saturday.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Tatyana Makeyeva; Editing by Neil Robinson

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