English FA raises alarm over England-Wales security at Euro

Paris (AFP) – English FA chief Greg Dyke on Monday raised the alarm over security for England’s next Euro 2016 game after the pitched battles with Russian fans in their first match.

Dyke also slammed stadium security Saturday’s game against Russia in Marseille as “unacceptable” in a letter to Europe’s governing body UEFA.

The letter was sent as French courts jailed six England fans for up to three months for their role in the Marseille violence. A French prosecutor acknowledged that about 150 hardcore Russian fans had evaded arrest.

England and Russia fans could again cross paths in the northern French city of Lille on this week.

Russia play their next Group B game in Lille on Wednesday against Slovakia. England fans are due to gather in Lille the same day ahead of their country’s next game against Wales on Thursday in the nearby city of Lens.

Dyke said the English FA and British government “will be working hard to positively influence” English fans in Lille. But he added: “We have serious concerns around the security arrangements for the city in the next few days.

“These concerns are heightened with the knowledge that Russia will play in Lille on Wednesday afternoon.”

Dyke called for police authorities in Lille and Lens to meet “as soon as possible to ensure there is a co-ordinated and effective plan in place.”

UEFA has warned Russia and England that they could be disqualified from the European Championships if their fans are involved in new violence.

Dyke told UEFA that a distinction should be made between the treatment of English and Russian fans in disciplinary measures.

He also slammed arrangements in the Marseille stadium on Saturday when Russian fans were accused of crossing barriers to attack English supporters including women and children.

“We believe the stewarding arrangements in place were unacceptable,” Dyke’s letter said.

“Supporters were able to get in with fireworks and flares, and then let them off, and there was insufficient segregation between the Russian and English fans, particularly given the events of the previous two days.”

Dyke said UEFA had made an “implication” that English fans were partly responsible for “the terrible events” in the Marseille stadium.

In a letter which condemned the behaviour of certain England supporters on the streets of Marseille, he said: “The implication in your jointly-addressed letter is that English fans were in part responsible for the terrible incidents at the end of the match with Russia.

“This is contradicted both by the video evidence and by the fact your independent disciplinary bodies have only instigated sanctions against the Russian Football Union.”

UEFA has charged Russia with crowd disturbances, racist chants and throwing fireworks. It is due to announce a punishment on Tuesday.

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