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Inside the Russian drunk tanks for World Cup fans; Soviet-era centres at the ready.

Byline: JEREMY ARMSTRONG and WILL STEWART in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

FOOTBALL fans found inebriated at the World Cup can expect the "best Russian hospitality" with a stay at a prison-style drunk tank.

The "sobering-up centres", widespread during Soviet times, are reopening in host cities for the tournament.

One in a city where England will play has piles of metal bed frames last seen in the Cold War at the ready.

It comes as the Government warns the 20,000 England fans expected to travel to Russia to be prepared.

Mikhail Bulukov, drunk tank director, joked: "To England fans who end up here, we will offer them our best Russian hospitality. Drunks should bear in mind that we offer a higher level of comfort than in police cells." Russian police will scour streets for inebriated supporters during the tournament, which kicks off on June 14, and take them to the tanks.

Fans will be breathalysed before their passports and money are taken and held in a locker.

They will then be ordered to lie on a bed in a dormitory to dry out, with the air filtered to remove alcohol fumes. Those who refuse to go risk prosecution or a fine.

The centres, known as vytrezvitel, were introduced in 1904 and shut down in 2011. Some have reopened.

Mikhail, 51, is director of Nadezhda Centre, two miles from Nizhny Novgorod's WARNING stadium where England will play Panama on June 24. He intends to bring in English translators for the match.

A former lieutenant colonel in the Russian army, he said: "We will welcome England fans. By the World Cup, we will have hand-held translators.

"Hopefully FIFA will give us English-speaking volunteers to communicate with drunk fans. We're ready. We have 16 beds and, if needed, we can double the number."

In Soviet times, men were stripped and often tethered to beds in the drunk tanks.

Reports were sent to their employers to humiliate them. Mikhail insisted: 1929 poster "Our regime is different. The aim is to ensure our clients do not harm themselves or anyone else out on the streets. They stay with us until they are sober."

With CCTV monitoring, one guard added: "Any misbehaviour, we press a red button. Police take them off to the cells."

Almost 20,000 drunks have been brought to Nadezhda Centre in the past two years, including 1,135 women. Russia said the centres were designed to take the pressure off health services.

The Foreign Office has launched a Be On the Ball advice campaign for fans. Minister Rory Stewart said: "I hope fans find this helpful in planning ahead."

Football Supporters' Federation chief Kevin Miles added: "Going overseas requires a bit more planning."


DRYING OUT Man at Nadezhda Centre

BREATHALYSED Nurse does test

BOSS Mikhail Bulukov

WARNING 1929 poster

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jan 3, 2018
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