MOSCOW: The World Cup final between Russia and Croatia in Moscow was briefly interrupted when three intruders ran onto the pitch before they were hauled off by stewards.
The Pussy Riot punk band, whose members were jailed for staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a church, said on social media that they were responsible for the pitch invasion.
Olga Kurachyova, a member of Pussy Riot, told Reuters by telephone she was one of the people who had invaded the pitch. She said she was being detained at a Moscow police station.
In the second half of the match, three people wearing white shirts and black trousers ran out onto the pitch from the area behind the French goal. A fourth person tried to run onto the pitch but was tackled on the sidelines.
FANS ON THE FINAL FIELD pic.twitter.com/dfW3gduUMP
— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) July 15, 2018
The three people were able to run about 50 metres, dispersing in different directions, before stewards wearing high-visibility jackets tackled them to the ground and then dragged them off the pitch.
The match was halted, but resumed about 25 seconds later. A witness at the stadium said he had seen police escorting the pitch invaders out of the stadium grounds. They had been wearing police-style outfits, the witness said.
“ALERT! Right now: four members of Pussy Riot take part in the final of the soccer World Cup,” Pussy Riot said on their Twitter account, which is described as being run by band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.
“Hello everyone from the Luzhniki pitch, it’s cool here!” Pussy Riot wrote in posts on their Twitter and Facebook accounts almost immediately after the incident.
What the actual…
Putin must be fuming.
Here the all action after pitch invasion, as you didn’t see on tv pic.twitter.com/c0v2E7TIh4
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 15, 2018