Russian far-right agitator Shprygin arrested at Euro 2016 in France


Toulouse (France) (AFP) – French police on Monday arrested Russian far-right football fan leader Alexander Shprygin watching his country at Euro 2016 just two days after being expelled from France over fan violence, the interior ministry said.

“Alexander Shprygin was arrested in the stadium this evening and placed in custody,” ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

“His case will be examined… and could lead to legal proceedings.”

Shprygin, who is head of Russia’s national supporters’ association and has been pictured with President Vladimir Putin, was among 20 Russian fans thrown out of France on Saturday on a plane to Moscow.

French investigators believe they had links to the violence in Marseille before the England-Russia match on June 11.

Shortly before his detention, Shprygin told AFP by telephone from the stadium in Toulouse where Russia were playing Wales: “I am at the match with a ticket.

“The French authorities told me I was not deported but just expelled, my Schengen visa has not been cancelled and all the stamps are there. So I can legally be in the European Union.”

Shprygin also posted photographs of himself outside the stadium on his Twitter account, wearing a blue straw hat and sunglasses.

Russian fans have been accused of staging an orchestrated campaign of violence against England supporters in Marseille.

Thirty-five people were injured, the majority England fans, including two men who are still in a serious state in hospital.

Shprygin, who works for nationalist lawmaker Igor Lebedev, was among 43 Russian fans arrested in southern France three days after the Marseille turmoil.

The fans were on their way to Lille where Russia were playing against Slovakia.

Three of the group were jailed for up to two years for their role in the violence.

Six England fans were jailed for up to six months.

French investigators believe there were other well-prepared hooligans among the Russian group but they did not have enough evidence to press charges.

The detention of the Russian fans became a diplomatic incident when the Russian government summoned the French ambassador to protest.

Twenty of the group, including Shprygin, were expelled from the country on Saturday and flew from Nice to Moscow.

UEFA fined Russia and handed its football federation a suspended disqualification over the Marseille violence, meaning the team would be thrown out of the tournament if their fans caused more trouble inside stadiums.

However, Russia were losing 2-0 to Wales at half-time of the match in Toulouse and appeared to be heading out of the championship.

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