Four in 10 Russians think that LGBT fans will be attacked at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The build-up to this summer’s tournament has been overshadowed by fears that foreign supporters will face discrimination and violence.
And now it has been discovered that Russians think so too.
According to a study commissioned by Bonus Code Bets, 39 percent said it was likely that someone would attack foreign LGBT people during the competition, which begins in June.
Worryingly, the age group containing the highest percentage of people who thought an attack was “highly likely” was 16 to 24-year-olds.
In Rostov-on-Don, which will host Brazil v Switzerland and Uruguay v Saudi Arabia in the first week of the tournament, 47 percent of people expected an attack on LGBT people.
Of those polled, 24 percent said that the concept of LGBT people made them feel “irritated” or “cautious”.
Hate crimes against LGBT people have doubled 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.
The European judges found that the law “reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia”.
The law also bans people from sharing “distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships”.
It has been widely abused by Vladimir Putin’s government to clamp down on the LGBT rights movement as a whole.
Authorities in Chechnya – a region of Russia – have detained more than 100 men in a gay purge last year, torturing and killing them while encouraging families to do the same.
Football already has problems regarding homophobia, with FIFA having repeatedly fined countries such as Mexico and Argentina after their fans were caught singing anti-gay chants.
Before the Confederations Cup last summer in Russia, the organisation gave referees the power to call off matches if they heard fans use discriminatory language.
But FIFA’s actions do not seem to have dispelled fears of activists – or of Russians themselves.
Russia came second-bottom in Europe’s 2016 LGBT rights rankings – to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is guilty of instituting its own LGBT purge, detaining and torturing at least 100 gay and trans people to force them to give up other LGBT people.
Bonus Codes Bet commissioned the study.