Ten Euro 2016 fans face trial as 150 Russian hooligans evade arrest


Marseille (AFP) – Ten men will be tried in France Monday over the violence between English and Russian football fans in Marseille, but prosecutors said 150 “extremely well-trained” Russian hooligans had evaded arrest.

England captain Wayne Rooney and manager Roy Hodgson made a public appeal to England fans to behave after UEFA threatened the team with disqualification.

A Northern Ireland fan meanwhile became the first fatality at Euro 2016 after plunging over a guard rail into the sea to his death, police said.

Six Britons, one Austrian and three French will be in court in the southern French city after Saturday’s clashes, the worst violence at an international tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

An England supporter who was seriously injured in pitched battles on Saturday remains in a “critical but stable” condition in hospital, prosecutor Brice Robin told a press conference.

The attackers have not been identified, but Robin said 150 “extremely well-trained” Russian troublemakers had taken part in the Marseille unrest.

They were “prepared for hyper-fast and hyper-violent acts”, Brice said and they slipped through police surveillance.

The head of Britain’s Euro 2016 policing operation has said the Russians in Marseille were wearing gum shields, martial arts gloves and carrying knives.

Assistant chief constable Mark Roberts told the Guardian newspaper that while “a small minority” of England fans were out to cause trouble at the match, there were hundreds of “Russian troublemakers”.

Tensions came to a head inside the Stade Velodrome after Saturday’s 1-1 England-Russia draw.

Russian fans charged into a section of the stadium occupied by English supporters and began throwing punches, sending spectators including women and children fleeing.

– More clashes feared –

UEFA has warned Russia and England that they could be kicked out of the tournament if their supporters cause more violence. It also told the two countries to appeal to their supporters to behave.

In response, England’s Rooney and Hodgson made a video plea for the country’s fans to avoid further violence.

“I’m appealing to you to stay out of trouble,” Hodgson said. “We really desperately want to stay in the competition.”

Rooney told fans: “Be safe, be sensible and continue with your great support for the players.”

The British government said it was “deeply concerned” by the Marseille violence and offered to send more police to France. 

UEFA admitted there were stadium security flaws and the fans were not properly segregated. They said changes would be made.

The French cities of Lyon, which hosts its first match on Monday when Belgium face Italy, and Toulouse announced bans on alcohol sales to football fans on the days of Euro 2016 matches.

The French government has given regional police chiefs powers to ban alcohol sales and consumption from the day before matches near the 10 stadiums and fan zones being used for the month-long, 24-nation tournament.

The Northern Ireland who died became the first fatality at Euro 2016 after plunging to his death from a guard rail overlooking the sea in the French city of Nice, police said.

The young fan, who was in his twenties, fell about eight metres (25 feet) from a rampart on the Promenade des Anglais seafront at about 2.00am, police said.

The government said Sunday that 116 people had been arrested oveer football violence since the start of the tournament and 63 taken into custody.

Three people had been expelled from France and five others designated as a threat to public order and banned from entering the country, the interior ministry said.

There were new incidents Sunday, as German football fans fought Ukrainian supporters ahead of their Group C game in Lille. 

More than 50 known German hooligans were involved in the clashes, according to a German police source quoted by the SID sports news agency.

And in Paris about 50 French youths dressed in black taunted Croatian supporters, with the two sides throwing missiles and fireworks at each other before police moved in.

– Red alert –

There are concerns that Russian and English fans could clash again this week in the northern city of Lille.

Russia’s next game is in Lille on Wednesday against Slovakia, while England play Wales in nearby Lens on Thursday.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said his country’s fans “behaved improperly” and predicted UEFA would impose a fine this week. He laid the blame on match organisers for failing to separate supporters.

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