Will European soccer 'disease' spread to 2018 World Cup?

Story highlights

  • Soccer violence at Euro 2012 sparks fears for 2018 World Cup in Russia
  • Russian fans fought with Polish supporters ahead of group match in Warsaw
  • Experts say the violence could have been prevented with more forethought
  • Polish authorities sanctioned a Russian national day march through the city
The scenes were shocking. Hooliganism is supposed to be a thing of the past, but the fighting in the streets of Warsaw during the opening week of Euro 2012 was a stark reminder that football's "disease" has not been cured.
The first major tournament to be held in Eastern Europe has already provided a cocktail of color and a wealth of excitement on the pitch, but the violence between Russia and Poland fans has cast a shadow over the continent's showcase event.
Despite being on a small scale so far, the problems have turned the spotlight towards 2018 -- when Russia will host the planet's biggest soccer spectacle, the World Cup.
"The Russian press are obviously very, very upset about what has happened," Russian football expert James Appell told CNN. "How this will affect attitudes towards 2018 won't come from inside Russia, it'll be a baton that is picked up by the international press and by UEFA and international footballing authorities.
"I think Russia will only react to criticism if it comes from outside. I don't think Russian authorities have really taken the kind of steps that have been needed through pressure on a domestic front.
"I'd expect in the aftermath of what has happened that the European footballing authorities and perhaps even FIFA will step in and mandate some kind of changes that need to be made in Russian football in order for 2018 to go ahead peacefully."