Gay World Cup fan left with brain injuries after brutal attack

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 01: French fans during the International Friendly match between France and Italy at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 1, 2018 in Nice, France. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

A gay football fan has been hospitalised in Russia after a vicious attack ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

There have long been fears of violence against LGBT people travelling to the country for the tournament – which starts on June 14 – with the Government directing fans to advice telling them to hide their sexuality in public.

LGBT activist group Pride in Football also revealed that it had been sent death threats saying that any gay fans going to the World Cup would be hunted down and stabbed.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 9: Russian soccer fans shout in front of the Kremlin as they watch the Russian soccer team lose to Japan in a televised 2002 World Cup match in Moscow, Russia. The fans rioted after learning that Russia lost to Japan 1-0 during 2002 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup H match play at International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Cars near the Kremlin were set on fire and destroyed. At least one person was killed during the rampage. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

Russia fans (Oleg Nikishin/Getty)

And it appears that these fears have been realised, with reports indicating that a gay couple – who had travelled to Russia to cheer on France – have been beaten in St Petersburg.

The pair were targeted after catching a taxi together, according to Telegram channel Operdrain, which reports news from police and other law agencies straight from the source.

The main victim, named as O. Davrius, was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered that he had a brain contusion and open craniocerebral injury, as well as an upper jaw fracture.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty)

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech ahead of the World Cup (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty)

The victims’ telephones and money were also taken during the horrific incident.

Two men in their 20s were arrested in connection with the attack. They were named as Ismet Gaidarov and Rasul Magomedov.

The news of the vicious beating comes the day after Russian gay rights activist Anton Krasovsky said that LGBT football fans were in danger at the World Cup.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 11: England fans clash with Russian fans ahead of the game against Russia later today on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Russia and England fans fight (Carl Court/Getty)

He said: “Don’t take a stand in public. It’s not safe.”

To drive this point home, members of the Cossack Russian militia have said they will patrol a number of World Cup games to help police prevent gay men from kissing.

Over 300 Cossacks, an ethnic group of Russian paramilitaries, will reportedly patrol World Cup games in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, close to the Ukranian border.

The city will host four World Cup group matches, as well as a Round of 16 game.

Russian Government minister Mikhail Degtyarev has estimated that around two million people will visit the country during the World Cup, which kicks off with the host nation taking on Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Russian riot policemen detain a gay and LGBT rights activist during an unauthorized gay rights activists rally in central Moscow on May 30, 2015. Moscow city authorities turned down demands for a gay rights rally. AFP PHOTO/DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV        (Photo credit should read DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian riot policemen detain an LGBT rights activist (DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty)

Hate crimes against LGBT people have doubled in the country since Russia created a law banning gay “propaganda”.

The 2013 legislation, which prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” towards minors, has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

If you’re not travelling to the tournament and want to know who you should support if you’re basing your decision on LGBT rights, we have just the guide for you.