Russia hosts the next World Cup tournament, in 2018.
But according to Eurosport, FIFA, the corrupt body that governs world soccer, may have new grounds to take a second look at the decision to hand the hosting duties to Moscow. A fan says that she was threatened with a strip search, and that she actually saw several female fans strip searched by male officers, on their way into a stadium to see a soccer match this week.
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.
The story is reportedly hitting front pages across Russia, but the president of Tararstan is defending the officers’ actions and even warning that strip searches can happen again at future soccer matches.