A Russian MP has encouraged Russians to have sex with visiting foreign football fans, a day after Russian authorities were embarrassed when one of his fellow parliamentarians warned against World Cup sexual liaisons. “The more love stories we have connected to the World Cup, the more people from different countries fall in love, the more children are born, the better,” MP Mikhail Degtyaryov said on Thursday, Tass reported. “Many years from now these children will remember that their parents’ love story began during the World Cup in Russia in 2018.” His comments come after MP Tamara Pletnyova, head of the Russian parliament’s committee for families, women and children, said on Wednesday that Russians should avoid sexual relations with foreigners, particularly if they were “of a different race”. “We must give birth to our own children. These [mixed-race] kids suffer and have suffered since Soviet times,” Pletnyova told Govorit Moskva radio station. She was responding to a question about children born after relationships between Russian women and men from Africa, Latin America or Asia formed during the Moscow Olympics in 1980. “It’s one thing if they’re of the same race but quite another if they’re of a different race. I’m not a nationalist, but nevertheless I know that children suffer,” she said. The comments are an embarrassment for Russian authorities, who are trying to present a welcoming and tolerant face to the world as hundreds of thousands of fans descend on the country for the tournament.