In Brief

Euro 2016: 36 England fans arrested after violence in Lille

Dozens held as supporters clash with police following earlier scuffles with Russians

At least 36 people have been arrested after football fans clashed with French police in the city of Lille overnight.

English and Russian fans had reportedly scuffled earlier in the town centre, but officials quickly moved in to quash the violence. Most of last night's clashes involved England supporters and the police.

French authorities had been braced for more violence after Euro 2016 organisers suggested English fans should head for Lille – where Russia were playing Slovakia – rather than the smaller town of Lens, where England meet Wales later today.

Russia have been handed a suspended disqualification from the tournament and England have also been threatened with expulsion if their supporters' behaviour fails to improve.

Tensions began to escalate when the two groups came together and a group of 200 fans began chanting anti-Russian slogans, says Reuters.

"There is a massive mob of Russian fans standing outside the station just waiting to cause trouble," England fan Oliver Larkworthy told the BBC. "The whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen. It's like a massive tinder box waiting to go off any minute."

Some England supporters claimed the trouble was started by a group of Russians who had set upon a crowd of around 200 fans drinking outside Le Prize pub, just off of Lille's main square.

French riot police used CS gas to bring the fighting under control, but were forced to return to the town centre when fans refused to disperse.

"This time there was no violence or even any Russian supporters visible, just a roaming group of singing, drunk young men, mainly English," The Guardian says.

Police arrest seven in Lille as fears grow of more Russia-England violence

15 June

Police in Lille arrested seven people today after further fighting erupted between English and Russian football fans in the city last night.

There were running battles in the streets following a confrontation between supporters in a bar. Police used pepper spray to break up least three separate fights. 

English fans were seen to stamp on a Russian flag and chant: "We hate Russia!"

Trouble had been feared after Saturday's violence. Both England and Russia play their next Euro 2016 games in or near Lille and there are thought to be around 85,000 supporters in the city - 15,000 Russians and 70,000 English.

A purported ban on keeping bars open after midnight seemed to have had "little effect", said the Daily Telegraph, and fans partied into the early hours of this morning. The ban continues to the end of the week. Sales of alcohol have been stopped in shops and supermarkets until Friday.

Russia play Slovakia in Lille today, with the match kicking off at 2pm. The Telegraph points out this is the first game of the tournament which is not a sell-out and hopes this may be a positive in terms of limiting crowd trouble.

French sports minister Patrick Kanner said his immediate strategy was "very simple" - he intended to "flood the public space with police so that there is no room for any form of hooliganism".

Around 4,000 police and emergency service personnel are expected to be on the city's streets today.

The strategy seems to be working, says the Telegraph, with the city calm - with the exception of the seven arrests for public disorder. Police said the people held were Russians, Slovaks and a woman from Ukraine. Four will be deported.

Six England fans were jailed after Saturday's violence and Russia has received a "suspended disqualification" from the tournament, together with a €150,000 (£119,000) fine.

A spokesman for the Kremlin has asked Uefa for fair treatment. "We hope for a fair treatment during investigation into all excesses, with equal attention given to all the parties who might have been involved," Dmitry Peskov said.

Russia face Euro 2016 disqualification as fans are deported

14 June

Russia will be thrown out of Euro 2016 if there fans are involved in any more violence at the tournament, Uefa has announced.

It has also fined the Russian Football Association €50,000 (£119,000) over the trouble that marred Saturday's 1-1 draw with England.

The punishment relates to "crowd disturbances, use of fireworks and racist behaviour" by fans. Uefa says the disqualification will be enforced if there are any more incidents "inside the stadium at any of the remaining matches of the Russian team during the tournament".

However, the sanction only applies to incidents within the ground, "so any more disruption and fights on the streets will not be counted", the Daily Telegraph says. 

The Kremlin says the violence in Marseille was "absolutely unacceptable" and urged fans not to react to provocation, although one Russian MP praised the hooligans in the wake of scant evidence of condemnation in the country's media.

Meanwhile, France has begun the process of deporting around 50 Russian ultras believed to be behind the trouble. It was feared that around 150 thugs were heading north intent on causing more trouble.

Alexandr Shprygin, the head of the Russian Union of Supporters, said 29 fans had been taken off a bus that was stopped by armed police.

"A coach which picked up a group of Russian fans from a hotel in Cannes was stopped after raids on addresses in Marseille and Cannes," reports the Telegraph. "This comes after authorities failed to arrest any of the well-trained Russian hooligans involved in violence with England fans during four days of battles."

Greg Dyke, the chairman of the English FA, has expressed "serious concerns" about security in Lille, says the BBC. England and Russian fans are set to gather there this week. Russia play Slovakia in the town on Wednesday and England play Wales in nearby Lens a day later.

Yesterday, England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney released a video urging fans to stay out of trouble amid fears that the team, too, could be disqualified.

From a footballing perspective, ejecting Russia from the tournament could cause chaos, reports The Guardian.

"If Russia were to be disqualified from the tournament, Group B could be thrown into turmoil due to Article 27 of Uefa's regulations, which states: 'If an association is disqualified during the competition, the results of all of its matches are declared null and void, and the points awarded forfeited.'"

Hodgson and Rooney beg England fans to 'stay out of trouble'

13 June

England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney have urged fans to "stay out of trouble" as the team's participation in Euro 2016 comes under the spotlight following the violent clashes in Marseille against Russian supporters.

Uefa has threatened to disqualify both teams from the tournament and has begun disciplinary proceedings against Russia for what appeared to be a coordinated attack from fans after the final whistle of Saturday's match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

In a video released by the FA on Twitter, with the hashtag #TogetherForEngland, Hodgson and Rooney appealed for supporters to behave.

"I am obviously now very concerned about the threat that is hanging over us and the sanction that could possibly be imposed upon the England team,” said the manager. “We worked very hard to get here and we want to stay in the competition."

Rooney, meanwhile, urged fans without tickets for Thursday's game against Wales not to travel. He also called on those attending to "be safe, be sensible and continue with your great support for the players".

But there are fears that there could be more trouble between England and Russia as both teams head north. The Three Lions' next match is in Lens, but many fans are expected to head to nearby Lille, where Russia play Slovakia on Wednesday.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin has claimed that much of the violence involved around 150 "hyper-violent" Russian ultras who are "trained to fight" and moved quickly.

None were arrested in the city and it is feared they "are on their way to Lille to ambush England fans again", reports the Daily Telegraph.

They are "truly terrifying" hooligans, says Guy Walters of the Daily Mail. Unlike "paunchy, drunken" English fighters, Russian ultras are "well-disciplined and prepared, extremely fit, muscular and politically motivated by extreme right-wing nationalism".

Some of the Russians are believed to be soldiers or policemen. "It seems Russian ultras are not only the most vicious species of hooligan around, but also the best organised - partly because many have daytime jobs that involve wearing uniforms".

Walters also draws worrying parallels with events on the Russian border. "The antagonism between the ultras and English fans - among whom, it should be stressed, there are plenty of thugs - almost feels like a proxy version of the political antipathy that exists between the UK and Russia after President Putin's military incursions into Ukraine," he says.


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