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Euro 2016: 150 Russians

Posted on 13th Jun 2016

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A group of "well-trained" Russian hooligans were behind the violence in Marseille when Russia played England in a Euro 2016 match, prosecutors say.

The 150 Russian football supporters "were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action" and were able to evade arrest, a city prosecutor said.

Two England fans have been jailed for throwing bottles at police. Four more face immediate trial.

Two Russians have been arrested, both for a pitch invasion.

About 35 people have been injured, four seriously, and a total of 20 people have been arrested after three days of disorder in the French city.

Home Secretary Theresa May accused Russian football football fans of bearing a "heavy responsibility for initiating violence", but said some England fans had let their country down.

Meanwhile England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney appealed directly to fans to "behave themselves" following the violence.

 

'Extreme'

The clashes in the stadium on Saturday followed England's 1-1 Euro 2016 draw with Russia, after Russia fans appeared to rush at England supporters.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told a news conference: "There were 150 Russian supporters who in reality were hooligans. These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action. These are extremely well-trained people."

This was what made it difficult to arrest them, the prosecutor said, adding that he did not think the Russian hooligans were "professional" but that they "were extreme".

The first England fan to appear in court in Marseille on Monday was 20-year-old Alexander Booth, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

He was sentenced to two months for throwing a plastic bottle at police.

The second England fan was Ian Hepworth, 41, from Sheffield, who was sentenced to three months for throwing a bottle at police and then walking forward to pick up a second bottle.

Both were banned from France for two years each.

In addition to six Britons, another four - three French and an Austrian - are due to appear in court imminently.

 

REUTERS

 

Severe brain injuries

A 16-year-old Briton was among those arrested and charged with throwing bottles, Mr Robin said.

He said the British teenager was in custody and that he had personally spoken to tournament organisers Uefa to have his future tickets cancelled.

Two Russian nationals were being expelled from the country, Mr Robin added.

The prosecutor also said that most of the 35 people who were injured were English.

An England fan, who is in an induced coma with severe brain injuries, has been named as Portsmouth supporter Andrew Bache, 50, known as Pepe.

During the press conference, Mr Robin said officers were looking at pictures with their foreign colleagues - Russian and English football spotters - to try to identify those involved in the disorder.

And Britain's Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for football policing, appealed for fans with their own camera phone footage to contact crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers.

 

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Witnesses said trouble began in the stadium on Saturday after flares were let off by Russian fans near the end of the game. Some then climbed across barriers designed to keep rival fans apart.

A number of Russia supporters appeared to kick and punch fleeing England fans, who were forced to clamber over fencing to escape.

Uefa has been investigating and has threatened to ban both teams if there is further violence.

It also opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russian Football Union for alleged crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and the setting off of fireworks.

There were 12,000 Russian fans in Marseille who travelled to the city by train, according to French prosecutors.

Sanctions against Russia will be decided at a disciplinary meeting on Tuesday, Uefa said.

 

PA: Some Russia supporters had smuggled in flares which they set off at the end of the match

 

Russia's sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, said Uefa had "done the right thing" to start a disciplinary case against the Russian Football Union, R-Sport news agency reported.

But Russian MP Igor Lebedev criticised French police and called on Russian football fans to "keep up the good work".

Alcohol ban

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described the disorder as "unacceptable", while the French government urged cities hosting Euro 2016 matches to ban alcohol near venues and fan zones.

The UK government has offered to send extra British police ahead of England's next match in Lens on Thursday.

Russia's next match against Slovakia will take place in Lille on Wednesday - the day before England's match against Wales, just 24 miles away in Lens.

Lens has already banned alcohol from being sold and fans without tickets for the match or fan zone have been told not to travel.

In a separate incident not related to the disorder in Marseille, a Northern Ireland football fan died after falling from a promenade in Nice following the team's 1-0 defeat by Poland.

 BY: BBC NEWS UK



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